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The M&A Boom Times Are Set to Continue in 2022

Companies have plenty of financial firepower and want to take greater control of their supply chains.

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Illustration: George Wylesol for Bloomberg Businessweek

The pandemic’s fits and starts had most people wishing good riddance to 2021. But for bankers it was a blockbuster year for mergers and acquisitions, and they’d love to repeat it.

U.S. companies were involved in $2.5 trillion worth of takeovers in 2021, handily surpassing the previous record of $1.96 trillion set in 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Unlike previous deal booms, which have been fueled by a handful of megasize transactions, this one was remarkably broad-based. There wasn’t a single U.S. acquisition larger than $50 billion in 2021, but there were more than 20,000 deals, according to Bloomberg’s count, about two-thirds more than in 2015. Dealmaking smashed records in many sectors, including industrials, consumer goods, and technology.