A series of billion-dollar buys last month pushed the combined M&A market to a value high of $15.8bn, a level not seen since mid-2008, according to the May 2010 monthly briefing from corporate finance services house Regent.
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In Europe, a decline in the number of deals, down from 262 in April to just under 200, reflected seasonal trends, analysts said.
The biggest deal of the month was the acquisition of Sybase by German software giant SAP, which forked out $5.8bn in a cash deal that will bring Sybase's mobile applications platform to a wider range of SAP customers.
Other notable deals in May included the $1.4bn acquisition of B2B commerce and integration company Sterling Commerce by IBM to fill a gap in Big Blue's WebSphere integration portfolio. Symantec also hit the headlines, picking up identity and authentication business Verisign for $1.28bn.