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Mergers & acquisitions in the telecommunications services industry totaled $210bn in 2015, down from $246bn in 2014. The drop was expected after a busy 2014. In 2016 M&A will remain an important tool for CSPs to evolve.


  • In the 10-year period ended 2015, the telecom sector saw 931 M&A deals worth $1.5 trillion. Total deal value dropped 15% in 2015, though, with 112 deals worth an average of $1.9bn, versus 109 deals in 2014 averaging $2.3bn each.
  • Domestic scale was the primary motivation of buyers in 63% of 2015 deals, followed by geographic spread (27%), privatization of assets (7%), and industry spread (3%).
  • A handful of high-profile dealmakers are responsible for most of the largest deals in recent years; Liberty's John Malone was the key member of this group for 2015. A similarly small number of private equity firms are active in telecom. Overall, about 30% of all deals have PE participation on one or both sides.

Features and Benefits

  • Quantifies the volume of telecom services sector M&A over the past 10 years in terms of deal volume and deal value
  • Identifies the trends behind the data: what drives deals, who are the most active players, and how will M&A evolve going forward
  • Evaluates the role of cloud services and OTT providers in telecom M&A
  • Evaluates the impact of different types of M&A deals on the market, including impacts on vendors
  • Assesses the importance of regulations in determining M&A trends

Key questions answered

  • How much M&A has there been in telecom services over the past decade?
  • What drives M&A over time: what are the enablers, and what are the typical motivations of the buyers?
  • What is the outlook for M&A over the next couple of years? Which players are likely to be most active?
  • Which telcos are best positioned to engage in M&A in the near term, given their financial positioning?

Table of contents


  • In brief
  • Ovum view
  • Recommendations

Global telecom M&A down 15% in 2015 to $210bn

  • Charter–Time Warner, Altice-Cablevision, and Hutch-O2 deals accounted for over half of 2015 deal value


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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