The number of merger and acquisition deals in the European information technology industry reached an all-time high of 707 – worth a combined value of $31bn – in the first half of 1997, according to a recent report from M&A specialist, Broadview Associates. The number of deals represents an increase of 14.2% from the first half of 1996, when 619 deals, worth a total of $30.8bn were recorded. The rise in deals in the sector – which covers software products and services, hardware products, telecommunications services, supporting products and services, and media and content services – was primarily driven by the trend towards globalization, which has sent American companies rushing to snap up their European counterparts. The busiest areas in the period were the telecommunications and software products and services sectors. In the telecommunications sector, 62 deals worth a total of $14.5bn were undertaken, compared with 55 transactions with a combined value of $4.5bn a year earlier. The number of transactions in the software products and services sector increased by almost 30% to 196, worth a total of $2.4bn in the first half of 1997, compared with 151 deals, worth a total of $1.8bn a year earlier. Broadview expects record levels of M&A activity in Europe to continue, driven by the rapid pace of technological change and the growing trend toward convergence, combined with strong stock and financial markets which are providing the resources to fund transactions.
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