As merger and acquisition activity begins to ramp up once again, we take a look back at the biggest deals done to date.
April 2015 update: Shell's £47bn ($70bn) agreement to buy BG Group is certain to shake-up the energy sector, but how does it rank in the annals of big deals?
In its current state, the acquisition would not quite break into the top ten largest mergers and acquisitions of all time, according to data from the Institute of Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances, and Bloomberg.
Below is the current top ten:
1. Vodafone AirTouch's acquisition of Mannesmann AG for $203bn in 1999. (Vodafone was re-branded Vodafone Airtouch in early 1999 after it bought AirTouch Communications. It then reverted to its former name Vodafone Group in 2001).
Vodafone Airtouch pursued German mobile network provider Mannesmann in what was seen as a hostile takeover, provoking strong protest from the Germans, who were unhappy about a UK company taking a dominant role in its domestic market. Later the conglomerate was broken up and all manufacturing-related operations were sold off.
2. America Online (AOL)'s acquisition of Time Warner for $182bn in 2000.
At the time, the deal was described as the "deal of the millennium" and the two companies hoped to become the largest media company in the world. However, the partnership was hit hard when the dotcom bubble burst and subsequently broke up.
3. Verizon buys out Vodafone's stake in its joint venture in a 2013/14 deal worth $130bn
After years of speculation, Verizon bought its UK peer's holding in Verizon Wireless in a cash and shares deal. Vodafone shareholders received a bumper payout as part of the deal, which left the UK business as a materially smaller firm.
4. Altria spins out Philip Morris International in a $113bn 2008 deal.
Until a spin-off in March 2008, US cigarette company Philip Morris International was an operating company of Altria Group. Altria said in 2008 that PMI would have more "freedom" outside the constraints of US corporate ownership in terms of potential litigation and legislative restrictions to develop sales in emerging markets. The move saw shareholders in Altria given shares in PMI, which was listed on the London Stock Exchange and other markets.
5. RBS' acquisition of ABN-AMRO for $98bn in 2007.
In 2007, the Royal Bank of Scotland proposed a deal which was to become infamous across the world.
Leading a consortium which included Belgium's Fortis bank and Spain's Banco Santander, RBS edged out rival Barclays who had also been eyeing up ABN.
However, the takeover turned sour a year later as the credit crunch hit home and RBS was forced to turn to the UK taxpayer to prevent its collapse.
As MPs picked apart the messy near-collapse of the bank years later, tales emerged of cheering and jubilation at Barclays' head office on the day the deal for ABN went through.
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