The value of worldwide announced M&A totalled $756.1 billion during the first quarter of 2014, a 52 percent increase from comparable 2013 levels, according to the latest survey by Thomson Reuters. When competing bids for U.S.-based Time Warner Cable and France’s SFR are excluded, the net increase drops to 36 percent, still the best annual start for worldwide dealmaking since 2011.

However, statistics for the number of deals shows a different picture. Just over 8,200 were announced during the first quarter, a 10 percent decline from a year ago and the slowest opening period for M&A, by number of deals, since 2004.