M&A: Dealmaking like 2007 all over again?

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Mergers and acquisitions are close to pre-financial crisis levels for the first time in 2015, as vast sums of cheap credit, tax policy and a slow global recovery send companies searching for deals again.

The value of deals signed across the world so far in 2015 has reached $1.4 trillion, according to M&A analysts Mergermarket. (Tweet This)

This means the amount paid for deals is 16 percent higher than over the same period in 2014 – although it remains 14 percent below the record-breaking levels of 2007 at this stage.

Mergermarket's latest M&A stats for global deals year-to-date
Mergermarket's latest M&A stats for global deals year-to-date

Shell's $70 billion agreed deal for smaller energy company BG Group is one of the potentially transformational deals pushing up the figures.

"The main thing has been confidence and that's continuing," Kirsty Wilson, global research editor at Mergermarket, told CNBC.

"With interest rates likely to rise there is some pressure to get deals done quickly."

Deals in the pharmaceuticals space are also continuing, with the value of M&A transactions in this industry in Europe up 76 percent from this time last year, as companies appear to less worried about the U.S. imposing restrictions on deals motivated by tax inversion.

Last year, a wave of deals were backed by the wish to do a tax inversion – where a U.S. company buys another in a country with a lower corporate tax rate and moves its tax jurisdiction to that country, as a way of avoiding taxes.

In 2007 as a whole, before the credit crisis erupted, mergers and acquisitions broke the $4 trillion barrier for the first – and, so far, only - time.

The numbers still had the potential to surpass 2007, according to Wilson, who said there are "a lot of really large transactions still being announced."

The value of M&A deals around the word reached $3.6 trillion in 2014, according to Dealogic, the third highest-ever total, despite a couple of high-profile bids being pulled. These included Pfizer's £69 billion ($105 billion) approach to AstraZeneca and AbbVie's failed £32 billion takeover of Shire.

- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle