Bristol-Myers Dealmaking Gets 2019 Off to Hottest M&A Start

(Bloomberg) -- The New Year is off to a rip-roaring start.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s $74 billion acquisition of drugmaker Celgene Corp. is the biggest deal ever announced this early in a calendar year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg going back to 1990.

After ending 2018 on the slowest fourth quarter since 2013, dealmakers were bracing for a slowdown this year, as equity markets wobbled into January and the U.S. government shutdown showed no end in sight. Instead, the biggest pharmaceutical or biotechnology deal on record came on the second working day of the year.

It also gave an early lead on the league tables to the five Wall Street banks working on the transaction: Morgan Stanley, Evercore Partners Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Dyal Co., the boutique advisory firm set up by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Gordon Dyal.

January’s not always as quiet when it comes to M&A: America Online and Time Warner announced their $184 billion deal ten days into 2000, the biggest merger ever.

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