In the first few weeks of 2014, some of last year's big global M&A trends are already being revisited, as media titans like John Malone prowl for larger pieces of an industry set for more consolidation, and markets like Japan, which in recent years were left for dead, are seemingly back on everyone's radar. Roughly $50 billion has already been offered in the two prominent deals of 2014: John Malone–backed Charter Communications' near-$35 billion offer for Time Warner Cable, and Japanese spirit company Suntory's $16 billion acquisition of Beam.
In 2013, cross-border transactions topped $920 billion, up from $860 billion the previous year, according to S&P Capital IQ. The U.S. ended 2013 with its best domestic M&A deal year since 2007, weighing in with $1 trillion of in-country transactions.
Overall, deals were sparked by "capital markets functioning, cash on balance sheets and activist investors," said Richard Peterson, director of Global Markets Intelligence at S&P Capital IQ. "There was an ability to get financing, and the banks were ready to lend."
Since corporations are still flush with cash, here is a snapshot of 10 of the more interesting, trendsetting deals from the past year, which may trigger more deals sheets as 2014 progresses.
—By Rebecca Fannin, Special to CNBC.com
Posted 28 Jan. 2014