SINGAPORE – Merger and acquisitions (M&A) involving Singapore soared 70.6 per cent year on year to US$88.3 billion (S$121.8 billion) in the year to date, making it the strongest first-nine-month period on record, according to Refinitiv data.

For the period, M&A activity targeting Singapore stood at US$32.0 billion due to an 89.9 per cent increase in deal value from the comparable period last year.

A large slice of the deal-making pie involved Singapore’s real estate sector at 49.8 per cent and totalled US$44.0 billion. This is followed by financials with a 19.2 per cent market share and US$16.9 billion in deal value, and high technology at 6.5 per cent market share worth US$5.7 billion.

In the third quarter of the year, M&A activity totalled US$24.6 million, a decrease of 35.1 per cent from the second quarter.

The report added that Singapore is the “most targeted” nation in South-east Asia for M&A, taking up 50.2 per cent of all M&A activity in the region.

For the year to date, domestic M&A rose 112.5 per cent year on year to US$16.7 billion. Inbound M&A activity was up 70.2 per cent from a year ago to US$15.3 billion; while outbound activity rose 3.6 per cent with US$18.5 billion in deal value. Total cross-border deal activity amounted to US$33.9 billion, up 25.9 per cent compared with a year ago.

When it came to completed M&A, advisory fees were down 16.5 per cent to US$153.8 million, from a record high of US$184.2 million the year prior.

Overall, investment banking activities in Singapore generated US$577.8 million in fees for the first nine months of the year, down 2 per cent from a year ago.

Out of such activities, DBS Group Holdings earned US$72 million in investment banking fees in the same period, copping a 12.5 per cent share of the total fee pool and topping the fee league table.

In terms of equity-capital markets (ECM), Singapore equity and equity-linked proceeds totalled US$5.7 billion in the year so far, up 43.9 per cent from a year ago.

This was driven by Reit (real estate investment trust) initial public offerings (IPOs) which amounted to US$1.4 billion. The largest South-east Asian IPO was Prime US Reit at US$833.0 million.

ECM underwriting fees rose 60.2 per cent to a six-year high of US$142.9 million with DBS ranking first in underwriting with a 17.9 per cent market share and US$1.0 billion in related proceeds. Tied at second place are Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs each with a 13.6 per cent market share and US$776.3 million in related proceeds.

Fees from debt capital markets underwriting fell 6.7 per cent to US$142.1 million, while syndicated lending fees also dropped 15.2 per cent to a three-year low of US$139.0 million.