January 24, 2019 / 5:24 AM / a month ago

Global auto deals doubled in 2018: PwC

FILE PHOTO: Automobiles drive in heavy traffic along the Long Island Expressway in the Queens borough of New York, U.S., November 20, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) - Global auto industry mergers more than doubled to an all-time high of $97.5 billion in 2018 from a year earlier, driven by mega-deals in the automotive parts sector, according to a report released on Thursday by consultancy PwC.

Five mega-deals, worth a combined $42 billion, in the component suppliers segment accounted for 43 percent of the total value of M&As last year as companies invested to keep up with a shift by carmakers into autonomous driving, connected cars and electric vehicles, the report said.

Cross-border M&A activity slowed in 2018 due to increased trade tensions and less focus on geographic expansion, PwC said.

The number of deals worth more than $1 billion, at 20, was the highest ever recorded by PwC, and more than twice the average seen over the previous three years.

The availability of capital and the pace of change in the industry should lead to a strong M&A environment this year despite macroeconomic headwinds, the report said.

Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru;' Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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