Indian mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deal value surged in the first quarter of the calendar year, driven by the telecom sector, according to global deal tracking firm Mergermarket.

Deal value rose to USD 17.9 billion in January-March, from USD 9.2 billion in the year-ago period, Mergermarket said in its report on quarterly M&A trends. The number of deals fell to 76 from 110 in the same period last year.

The telecom sector alone witnessed three transactions worth USD 13.6 billion in the quarter, compared to just USD 60 million from two deals a year ago.

The top telecom deal in the quarter was Vodafone Group Plc.’s merger of Vodafone India Ltd with Idea Cellular Ltd in a USD 12.7 billion transaction that accounted for 70.6 percent of the total deal value in this quarter.

Another major deal in the telecommunication sector was global private equity fund KKR & Co Lp’s USD 948 million investment in Bharti Infratel Ltd for a 10.3 percent equity stake.

The second best performing sector in M&A was energy, mining and utilities (EMU), in terms of deal value, recording 11 deals worth USD 1.5 billion in the quarter. Across the 11 deals, six were in the renewable energy space and were valued at USD 419 million, the report noted.

Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd’s acquisition of an 80 percent equity stake in the KG-OSN-2001/03 field from Gujarat State Petroleum Corp. Ltd for about USD 995 million topped EMU sector deals, and was the second-biggest after the Vodafone India-Idea Cellular merger.

Inbound M&A activity declined by 28.2 percent to USD 2.7 billion in the quarter compared withUSD 3.8 billion in the year-ago period, despite strong foreign interest in the renewables sector. The number of inbound M&A transactions also fell to 39 from 51.

Domestic M&A activity increased 181.2 percent from a year ago with deals worth USD 15.3 billion.

Also, it was the third-highest first quarter by value for private equity buyouts since 2001 by Mergermarket records, with 19 deals worth USD 2 billion.

India’s share of the Asia-Pacific deal value in the first quarter came to 13.2 percent— the highest across all quarters since 2013. - Livemint


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