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US healthcare deals spur global M&A to hit 17-year record high in Q1 2018

During the first three months of 2018, 3,774 merger and acquisition deals took place worldwide, totaling $890.7 billion, according to a report by research firm Mergermarket cited by CNBC.

Mergermarket analysts noted global M&A activity during the first quarter of 2018 culminated in a 17-year record high and signified the strongest start to the year since 2001, when the firm began recording data. The total value represents an 18 percent increase compared to M&A global deal value during the first quarter of 2017.

Analysts noted Amazon's move into the pharmaceutical sphere last year served as a catalyst for dealmaking in the U.S. healthcare market, spurring several major pharmacy retailers to scoop up health plans, such as the $54 billion Cigna-Express Scripts acquisition, which was completed in March, and the proposed $69 billion acquisition of Aetna by Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health, which CVS shareholders also approved last month.

M&A activity in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2018 represented 44.2 percent of the total global share of M&A activity during the period, according to the report.

To access the CNBC report, click here.

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