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February 12, 2020 | M&A Reports 

Crosbie & Company Canadian Mergers & Acquisitions Report for Q4 2019

Strong Canadian M&A Activity in the Fourth Quarter of 2019

Canadian M&A activity remained robust in Q4 of 2019, with 764 announced transactions and aggregate deal value of $131.2B, the greatest amount since Q3 of 2016. In total, there were 3,227 transactions announced in 2019, a slight decline from the record set in 2018. The Canadian M&A market continues to show signs of strength, as the average number of transactions has exceeded 700 per quarter for the third consecutive year. 

“Similar to 2018, more than 2,000 Canadian companies were acquired in 2019 by domestic and international buyers,” said Sam Sivarajan, Managing Director at Crosbie & Company. In 2019, there were 2,141 transactions involving Canadian targeted companies, with 506 of these transactions occurring in Q4. This was the 9th consecutive quarter in which more than 500 Canadian companies were acquired. While domestic buyers have historically represented 75% of these acquisitions, international buyers acquired 532 Canadian companies in 2019, a 7% increase relative to the previous year. “Canada represents an attractive market and many international firms are choosing to enter Canada by acquiring existing businesses,” said Sivarajan. “We expect this momentum of M&A activity to continue into 2020.” 

In 2019, Canadian buyers were also highly acquisitive internationally, with 852 acquisitions of foreign companies during the year. The United States continued to represent the largest market for Canadian companies that were looking to make acquisitions abroad. In 2019, Canadian companies acquired 526 US-based companies, representing 62% of all foreign acquisitions made by Canadian firms. ​

There were 18 mega-deals announced this quarter with a combined aggregate value of $106.2B. Among the 18 mega-deals, there were 11 Canadian acquirors and 9 Canadian target companies. The largest mega-deal this quarter was Charles Schwab Corporation’s $37.8B acquisition of TD Ameritrade, one of the largest acquisitions of a Canadian owned foreign subsidiary in history. 

During the fourth quarter, there were 15 transactions involving financial sponsors (each in excess of $100M) including acquisitions made by 4 Canadian pension plans. The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board was involved with two acquisitions, including the acquisition of Canadian-based Pattern Energy Group and the acquisition of a Mexican-based industrials company IDEAL, which was a joint acquisition with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.  Canadian public company Alta Gas Ltd. was also jointly acquired by the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board

The mid-market, which is defined as transactions involving companies with enterprise values below $250M, had 291 transactions with an aggregate value of $9.9B.  This level of activity was comparable to the previous quarter, and represented 86% of deal activity and 8% of aggregate deal value (for deals with disclosed values). 

The Real Estate sector was the most active this quarter with 113 announced deals and a total aggregate value of $9.8B. The Financial Services sector represented a large portion of total value with $51.0B, approximately 39% of aggregate deal value.  The Industrial sector also remained active this quarter with 104 transactions valued at $9.3B.


  • Deal activity remained strong in the fourth quarter of 2019 with 764 announced transactions
  • Aggregate deal value increased significantly to $131.2B, nearly three times the aggregate value of deals in Q3 2019, and the greatest amount since Q3 2016
  • There were 506 Canadian companies acquired in the fourth quarter with an aggregate value in excess of $50B
    • A total of 2,141 Canadian companies were acquired in 2019
  • Total cross-border activity remained consistent with the previous quarter, with 330 announced acquisitions
    • Aggregate cross-border deal value increased significantly to $61.0B 


  • There were 18 mega-deals announced in the 4th quarter of 2019 with an aggregate value of $106.2B, the second largest amount in the last 6 years
  • The largest acquisition this quarter was the $37.8B acquisition of TD Ameritrade by Charles Schwab Corporation
  • 7 of the 10 largest acquisitions were made by Canadian companies including 3 acquisitions made by Canadian pension plans
    • CPPIB was involved with 2 mega-deals including the $8.4B acquisition of Pattern Energy Group Inc. and the $3.4B acquisition of Impulsora del Desarrollo y el Empleo en América Latina (IDEAL)

Industry Sector Activity

  • Real Estate was the most active sector this quarter with 113 announced deals valued at $9.8B, exceeding the 100 transaction threshold for the 6th consecutive quarter
  • The Industrials sector remained robust with 104 transactions valued at $9.3B
  • The Financial Services sector represented a large portion of aggregate deal value, driven primarily by the $37.8B acquisition of TD Ameritrade 

Breakdown by Transaction Size

  • 86% of transaction activity in the quarter was from mid-market transactions below $250M (for transactions with disclosed values)
  • Mid-market transactions were valued at $9.9B or approximately 8% of total M&A value 
  • The aggregate value of all mega-deals was $106.2B in the fourth quarter, the largest aggregate value of mega-deals in a quarter since Q3 2016

Domestic Versus Foreign M&A

  • For the 9th consecutive quarter, more than 500 Canadian companies were acquired, with 506 announced acquisitions in Q4 2019
  • In the fourth quarter, $50.9B worth of Canadian companies were acquired, including $25.1B of acquisitions made by foreign buyers

Cross-Border Deals

  • Inbound cross-border activity remained robust while outbound cross-border activity declined slightly 
  • Cross-border deals represented 43% of total activity and 37% of total deal value
  • US buyers comprised 67% of the 132 Canadian targeted cross-border acquisitions while representing less than 10% of the aggregate value 

Target by Province

  • Ontario remains the most active province this quarter with 193 deals valued at $35.0B
  • British Columbia was also active in the fourth quarter with 106 deals valued at just below $2.0B
  • Quebec had the second largest aggregate deal value of $9.5B, comprised of 80 transactions

Crosbie & Company Inc.
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