Vincent Boland: Mergers and acquisitions spree could be the start of something big

This year’s boom in M&A activity worldwide may just be the beginning of a period of corporate restructuring unlike any since the financial crisis

Tos Chirathivat’s Central Group has made a £4 billion offer to buy Selfridges, the owner of the Brown Thomas and Arnotts department stores in Dublin. Picture: Getty

It may be the unleashing of animal spirits after months of enforced lockdowns and corporate navel-gazing, or it may just be irrational exuberance. Whatever the trigger, 2021 was the busiest year on record for mergers and acquisitions around the world. Despite the continuing dislocations of the Covid-19 pandemic, the wheels of capitalism continue to turn.

In the year to December 16, the value of M&A deals reached $5.6 trillion, according to Dealogic, the data provider ...