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Number of $5 billion-plus takeover deals hits record

LONDON (Reuters) – A bumper North American railroad bid and three other big tie-ups announced this week have taken the number of takeover deals worth $5 billion or more to a record 128 this year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Pacific Railway’s bid for rival Norfolk Southern Corp. on Tuesday would be the biggest ever Canadian acquisition in the United States, and lifted this year’s Canada-U.S. M&A activity to $104.1 billion, surpassing all other years.

The week’s next biggest M&A deal was a $13.4 billion tie-up between France’s Air Liquide and U.S. peer Airgas.

Those deals pushed worldwide announced takeover deals above $4 trillion this year for only the second time in history, after the record M&A year of 2007, according to Thomson Reuters data.

They also helped take the number of deals worth more than $5 billion above the previous record of 125 from eight years ago.

U.S. banks Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan have all advised on deals worth more than $1 trillion, the data showed.

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