In the wake of the $130 billion swap of stock, cash and other considerations between Verizon and Vodafone, the Associated Press, with help from the research firm Dealogic, updated the list of the biggest corporate acquisitions in history and two pharmaceutical deals remain in the top 10.
Mobile phone giant Verizon is buying out Vodafone, which held 45 percent of Verizon. That transaction would be second on the big-money list.
My former Inquirer colleague Mike Armstrong disliked the term merger because almost always one company is taking over another, with somebody or a lot of somebodies, exiting the company that is purchased. Perhaps they exited richer, but they exited either way.
The AP-Dealogic ranking had the 1999 Pfizer acquisition of Warner-Lambert Co. for $111.8 billion as the third largest on the list, before Verizon-Vodafone.
Just about two months later, Glaxo Wellcome bought SmithKline Beecham for $79.6 billion. If only in name, that was more of merger since the resulting company is GlaxoSmithKline.
The AP-Dealogic list (without Tuesday's deal) is below, with the dates being when the deal was announced, not when it closed:
- Vodafone AirTouch PLC acquisition of Mannesmann AG, $172 billion ($171.8 billion excluding debt), Nov. 14, 1999.
- America Online Inc. acquisition of Time Warner Inc., $112.1 billion ($94.3 billion excluding debt), Jan. 10, 2000
- Pfizer Inc. acquisition of Warner-Lambert Co. (second bid), $111.8 billion ($110.4 billion excluding debt), Nov. 4, 1999
- Spin-off of Philip Morris International Inc., $111.3 billion ($106.6 billion excluding debt), Jan. 30, 2008
- AT&T Inc. acquisition of BellSouth Corp., $101.9 billion ($85.2 billion excluding debt), March 6, 2006
- RBS, Banco Santander Central Hispano, Fortis Bank, acquisition of ABN Amro Holding NV (second bid), $95.6 billion (no debt), April 25, 2007
- Exxon Corp. acquisition of Mobil Corp., $85.6 billion ($81.7 billion excluding debt), Dec. 1, 1998
- Glaxo Wellcome PLC acquisition of SmithKline Beecham PLC, $79.6 billion ($77.2 billion excluding debt), Jan. 17, 2000
- SBC Communications acquisition of Ameritech Corp., $76.2 billion ($73.2 billion excluding debt), May 11, 1998
- Bell Atlantic Corp. acquisition of GTE Corp., $74.6 billion ($60.5 billion excluding debt), July 28, 1998