The American Lawyer Global M&A Deals of the Year recognize transactions that redrew the corporate map in every corner of the globe. Although 2012 was quiet for inbound China M&A, Chinese clients boast no fewer than three multibillion-dollar outbound deals on the honor roll, with Cnooc Limited buying Canada’s Nexen Inc., Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd. buying Australia’s Gloucester Coal Ltd., and Sinopec Corp. forming a joint venture with Saudi Aramco. Another two deals of the year featured Brazilian targets (Amil Participações S.A. and TAM S.A.), as Western players looked to emerging markets for growth, and emerging players began the process of regional consolidation. Many of the other bids—for Sprint Corp., Xstrata plc, Tiger beer, TNK-BP, and the Los Bronces copper mine—were distinguished by courtroom or boardroom maneuvering.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Global M&A Deal of the Year, U.S.: Softbank/Sprint
When Softbank of Japan bought a controlling share in Sprint Nextel in July, it marked the largest foreign investment ever—$21.6 billion—by a Japanese company and the end of a high-stakes competition for the prized telecom company.
Global M&A Deal of the Year, Canada: CNOOC/Nexen
In a period when outbound Chinese investment surged around the world, the biggest deal was the $15 billion acquisition of Canadian oil company Nexen by CNOOC LTD, China's largest producer of offshore crude oil and natural gas.
Global M&A Deal of the Year, Brazil: UnitedHealth/Amil
Where does the largest U.S. health insurer go for growth? Brazil.
Global M&A Deal of the Year, Chile: The Anglo American Sur Sales
For 10 months last year, the Los Bronces mine was the subject of a bruising struggle between two powerful players seeking to dominate Chile's copper supply.
Global M&A Deal of the Year, Latin America: LAN Airlines/TAM Airlines
As the Latin American economy continues to take a bolder role on the world stage, it's only fitting that the continent should have its own flagship carrier—the LATAM Airlines group, the product of a merger between Chile's LAN and Brazil's TAM.
Global M&A Deal of the Year, Russia: Rosneft/TNK-BP
It's not easy for Western companies who want to do business in in Russia, and, for many, the story of BP's travails there epitomizes the challenges they face.
Global M&A Deal of the Year, Europe: Glencore/Xstrata
Given the companies respective backgrounds, it's little wonder then that the $70 billion merger involving Glencore and Xstrata was one of the most hotly watched corporate sagas of 2012.
Global M&A Deal of the Year, Australia: Yancoal/Gloucester
The $7.25 billion merger between Australia's Gloucester Coal and China's Yanzhou Coal and its Australian subsidiary Yancoal, was the largest listing on the Australian stock exchange in 2012.
Global M&A Deal of the Year, Southeast Asia: Heineken/Asia Pacific Brewery
A fast-paced corporate tussle in the booming beverage markets of Southeast Asia led to Heineken International B.V.'s acquisition of Asia Pacific Brewery.
Global M&A Deal of the Year, Middle East & Africa: Sinopec/Aramco JV
In January 2012 the China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) signed a deal to buy a 37.5 percent equity interest in Yanbu Sinopec Refining Company Ltd. (YASREF), in a joint venture described as Sinopec's first refining project outside of China, and the largest Chinese investment in Saudi Arabia.
Global M&A Deal of the Year, Private Equity: Walgreen/Boots
Creating the biggest drugstore chain in the world was a big pill to swallow—so big that it took two gulps.