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Led by China, Asian outbound M&A hits record high of $200 billion: Mergermarket

Outbound mergers and acquisitions (M&A) by Asian companies are set to reach the highest annual deal value on record with less than four months to go before the end of the year, according to Mergermarket.

A total of 479 deals worth $200 billion have been announced so far this year, already eclipsing 2015's annual value of $199.6 billion, the financial data firm announced on Thursday.

The performance marks the second consecutive year that deal volumes have reached a record.

Chinese dealmaking has been the driving force behind overall activity, with 173 deals worth $128.7 billion announced so far. That accounts for 64.3 percent of Asia's deal value. The data include recent purchases, such as Zhongwang International's $2.3 billion acquisition of U.S. aluminum manufacturer Aleris that was unveiled Monday.

"China's unstoppable outbound M&A spree is driven by the country's effort to seek high-yielding assets overseas and hedge against slowing domestic growth," explained Yiqing Wang, Mergermarket's China editor.

"The weakening renminbi also pushes Chinese deep pocket acquirers to speed up splashing billions of dollars overseas before their currency further depreciate,"

But amid increasingly tight scrutiny from regulatory authorities in both China and abroad, it remains to be seen whether this year's record pace can continue.

Earlier this month, Australia rejected bids from Chinese and Hong Kong companies for a 99-year lease on state owned electricity provider Ausgrid, citing "national security concerns". Meanwhile in January, Washington blocked a $3.3 billion sale of Philips' lighting business, Lumileds, to a consortium led by China's GO Scale Capital.

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