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Buyouts are back, plus other Q3 data tidbits

Talk about getting a scoop: Thomson Reuters today released third-quarter M&A data before the third quarter is actually over. Impressive, even if qualified by “preliminary.”

Colin already blogged about how Goldman Sachs won the quarterly league tables. Here are some other highlights:

* Global M&A activity in Q3 totaled $599 billion, which is the strongest quarter in two years and the third consecutive quarter of growth. Deals for U.S. targets came in at $201 billion, which actually was down slightly from Q2.

* Remember: This data includes announced deals that haven’t actually closed. For Q3, that would include both Potash and Dynegy (thus sharply skewing the sector analysis toward energy/power)

* Private equity-backed global M&A hit $62 billion last quarter, up 23% from Q2 and up 72% from Q3 2009. Most of that increase came from Europe, since both U.S. and Asian private equity activity dipped last quarter.

* The quarter’s largest-announced PE deals were:

  1. Dynegy: $4.76 billion by The Blackstone Group
  2. Tomkins PLC: $4.63 billion by Onex Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
  3. Burger King: $3.94 billion by 3G Capital

* Year-to-date PE activity is now at over $140 billion, or more than twice last year’s total at this date: