Micron Technology
Courtesy of Micron Technology
By Phil Wahba
June 16, 2015

There’s a reason mergers and acquisitions activity spiked 45% in 2014 to hit $3.5 trillion: dealmaking, facilitated by low borrowing costs, helps America’s Fortune 500 companies boast dramatic revenue growth worthy of tech startups.

Indeed, M&A accounts for four of the five biggest sales jumps in the Fortune 500: Spartan Stores, a Midwest grocery distributor, tripled its revenue and expanded beyond its midwestern stronghold, by buying Nash Finch and becoming SpartanNash, now the largest wholesaler serving U.S. military commissaries. NGL Energy Partners and Devon Energy continued their years of dealmaking by buying smaller rivals, or their key assets, while chipmaker Micron Technology became a giant in the flash memory chips market by buying Elpida.

One company high on the list that achieved heady growth organically was biotech company Gilead, whose hepatitis blockbuster drugs doubled its revenue last year.

But few companies other than biotech or IT companies can hope to pull off such a feat, so it looks like M&A will remain the main tool for such outsized growth by Fortune 500 companies. And so far in 2015, the pace of dealmaking suggest that’s exactly what they’re doing.

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