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January 25, 2022 | M&A Reports 

Crosbie & Company Canadian Mergers & Acquisitions Report for Q4 2021

Strong Quarter to Finish a Record Year

Following a slight pullback in Q3, M&A activity picked up again in Q4 2021 with 943 announced transactions. This elevated the full-year into the record books with 3,857 announced deals representing $359B in aggregate value. In terms of annual activity and deal value, 2021 surpasses the prior record by more than 400 deals and $27B in value while significantly outpacing the 3,136 deals and $163B in value booked in 2020. 

“2021 was an extraordinary year for Canadian M&A with three of the four most active quarters we’ve ever seen,” said Colin Walker, Managing Director of Crosbie & Company Inc. “As well as a little catch up from the prior year, this reflects favourable conditions for vendors as well as an active universe of buyers and liquid capital markets. Despite the heightened uncertainties that some might point to for 2022, we expect the M&A train to keep on rolling.” 

There were 14 mega-deals (transactions with values above $1B) in Q4 worth a combined value of $56B, of which five involved a Canadian target. Information Technology dominated the mega-deal league table with 5 transactions accounting for $33.1B in aggregate value. The largest mega-deal in the fourth quarter was the $26B take-private transaction of McAfee Corp. led by a consortium of buyers, including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

The mid-market, represented by transactions with values below $250M remained strong in the fourth quarter with 358 transactions announced, representing 88% of total deals with values disclosed and 16% of the aggregate value for such deals. For the full-year, the mid-market was responsible for 1,359 transactions (91%) representing $50.8B in value (14%).  

Cross-border transactions continued to a key driver of overall M&A activity representing 52% of total announcements and 69% of aggregate value. Consistent with most quarters, outbound activity (Canadian acquiror and foreign target) outpaced inbound activity by a factor of 1.8x. In 2021, Canadian buyers were highly acquisitive internationally with 1,142 acquisitions of foreign companies during the year (+38% relative to 2020). The data shows that the United States continues to represent the largest market for Canadian companies looking to make acquisitions abroad. In 2021, Canadian companies acquired 717 US-based companies, representing 63% of all foreign acquisitions made by Canadian firms.

For a more local perspective, in Q4 there were 577 acquisitions of companies domiciled in Canada. The median value for these transactions was $12 million. Overall, Canadian firms made 719 acquisitions in Q4 2021, of which 405 (56%) involved domestic targets (with a $31M average deal value) and the remainder representing foreign targets (with an $149M average deal value).

The increase in activity in Q4 was broadly based, with more than half of the industry sectors we track experiencing an increase in activity. The Consumer Discretionary, Materials and Utilities sectors lead the pack with each up by more than 55% over Q3. The Information Technology, Industrial and Real Estate sectors were the most active this quarter with 140 ($36.8B), 132 ($1.8B) and 109 ($7.6B) announced transactions, respectively.  In terms of weaker sectors this quarter, Healthcare, Financial Services, and Precious Metals each fell more than 14%. 


  • Deal activity picked up in Q4 2021 with 943 announced transactions, bringing the full-year total to a record 3,857 announced transactions, or roughly 23% higher than 2020
  • Aggregate deal value remained strong at $87B in Q4 2021 contributing to an annual deal value high of $360B, which is $28B higher than the previous record set in 2016
  • Cross-border M&A activity continued at a strong pace in the fourth quarter with 486 announced transactions representing $60B in value (69% of the aggregate deal value). There were 300 transactions (62% of cross-border deals) involving a Canadian buyer and a foreign target


  • There were 14 mega-deals (deals surpassing $1B in value) announced in Q4 2021 representing $56B in deal value, bringing the full-year total to 46 mega-deals and $253B in deal value
  • The largest deal this quarter involved a consortium of buyers, including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, engaging in a $26B take-private transaction of McAfee Corp. 
  • Five mega-deals involved a Canadian target, collectively representing $9.8B in deal value 

Industry Sector Activity

  • More than half of the industry sectors we track experienced an increase in announcements relative to Q3 2021. Consumer Discretionary (84), Materials (36) and Utilities (20) led the pack in terms of growth with increases in excess of 55% 
  • Healthcare (67), Financial Services (56) and Precious Metals (29) posted the largest declines in deal volume relative to the prior quarter, each declining more than 14% 
  • Information Technology (140) dominated the mega-deal league table with 5 transactions accounting for $33.1B value

Breakdown by Transaction Size

  • Mid-market transactions with disclosed values (deal value below $250M) comprised 88% of quarterly activity, which is slightly below the full-year figure of 91%
  • Mega-deal activity accelerated in the fourth quarter to 14 announcements while the average mega-deal size was cut in half ($4B average mega-deal size)

Canadian Domiciled versus Foreign M&A Targets

  • Acquisitions involving Canadian targets stayed flat quarter-over-quarter at 577 announced transactions, slightly below the full-year average of 622
  • Canadian firms made 719 acquisitions in Q4 2021, of which 405 (56%) involved domestic targets ($31M average deal value) and the remainder targeted foreign firms ($149M average deal value) 

Cross-Border Deals

  • Cross-border deals represented 52% of total activity and 69% of total value in Q4 2021
  • Outbound cross-border activity increased 11% from the prior quarter while inbound activity increased by 7%
  • Canada/U.S. transactions represented 62% of cross-border deals and 69% of cross-border deal value

Deals by Provincial Domicile

  • Ontario remained the most active province by deal count (220) but experienced a more than 50% decline in share of deal value  
  • The median transaction value across deals with disclosed values was $11.9M for Canada and $11.5M for Ontario
  • British Columbia (+31%), Quebec (+11%) and Alberta (+11%) each experienced significant increases in deal value market share
  • Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec collectively represented 78% of all deals and 54% of deal value in 2021

Crosbie & Company Inc.
150 King Street West, 15th Floor, P.O. Box 95, Toronto, Ontario M5H 1J9
Tel: 416.362.7726 | Toll Free: 1-866-873-7002 | Fax: 416.362.3447


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