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Goldman tops M&A league, tax inversion deals soar

Goldman Sachs led the way in global deal-making in the first nine months of 2014, advising on 30.7 percent of all mergers and acquisitions (M&A) across the world.

New figures from Dealogic also showed that Goldman topped the dealmaking league in the United States, with a 37.8 percent market share of deals.

Overall, the data showed a significant rise in M&A related to tax inversions—when companies re-domicile to avoid paying tax in their home country. Such deals reached $315.3 billion (13 deals) in the first three quarters of the year, compared to just $71.7 billion in the same period in 2013, including withdrawn or rejected bids. Regulators are however clamping down on tax inversions.

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Nine of the 13 deals relating to inversions were in the health care sector.

Pfizer's $122.6 billion proposed acquisition of AstraZeneca, AbbVie's pending $56.1 billion acquisition of the U.K.'s Shire, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International's $54.7 billion pending acquisition of Allergan accounted for 74 percent of volume.

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Oli Scarff | Getty Images

Pfizer could reduce its tax rate to 22 percent from 28 percent post-inversion, according to Andrew Baum, a pharmaceuticals analyst at Citi. An earlier $118 billion bid for AstraZeneca was rejected and Pfizer cannot come back with a raised offer until November 26.

Abbvie's proposed deal could reduce its average tax to 13 percent from 22 percent by 2016.

Highest M&A volume since 2007

Deal volume helped Goldman secure the top spot in revenue rankings too; it had a 9.6 percent share of global M&A revenue in the first nine months of the year.

Morgan Stanley took second place in the dealmaking table,with Citi and JPMorgan in third and fourth place.

The Dealogic data showed dealmaking in the first nine months was up 34 percent compared with the same period last year, and volumes were the highest since the first nine months of 2007.

Three of the top 10 cross-border deals were announced in the third quarter of 2014: Deutsche Telekom's divestment of T-Mobile US to Iliad, Walgreen's offer for the remaining 55 percent stake in Alliance Boots Holdings and Merck's proposed $17.0 billion bid for U.S.-based Sigma-Aldrich.

Health care was the leading sector globally, followed by telecoms and real estate.