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Over the past few years, consolidation has become an important trend in nearly every major global industry. There’s no one reason why—although changing consumer trends, globalization, and emerging technologies are our primary culprits—but all around the world, we’ve seen countless household names join forces and shrink the competition pool.

2017 has certainly extended this trend. In fact, according to the IMAA, the total global value of M&A deals is expected to once again eclipse the $4.0 trillion mark—on the back of a near-record 40,000 transaction year.

Investors will also note that this year’s deals have included some of Wall Street’s most powerful brands and have had industry-rattling consequences. To celebrate this, we’ve compiled our list of the most important M&As of 2017!

In no particular order, check them out now:

1.       United Technologies (UTX - Free Report) ) Buys Rockwell Collins (COL - Free Report)

We’ll start with the newest deal on the list, as the details of this acquisition weren’t made official until early last month. Per the merger agreement, United Technologies will acquire Rockwell Collins for $140 per share in cash and stock.

Upon completion, Rockwell Collins’ aircraft avionics business will merge with United Technologies’ wide portfolio—which includes aircraft engines, structures, cockpit and cabin controls, ventilation systems, and other devices—to create a brand new aircraft behemoth.

Post-acquisition, United Technologies is expected to have global sales of around $67-$68 billion, and the deal is expected to generate $500 million of run-rate pre-tax cost synergies by the fourth year. Because of Rockwell’s status as a supplier to Boeing (BA - Free Report) , the acquisition is also expected to give United Technologies greater negotiating power in the industry.


2.       Intel (INTC - Free Report) ) Acquires Mobileye

As the public grows more and more obsessed with the impending rollout of self-driving cars, Intel’s acquisition of Mobileye has certainly emerged as one of the year’s most meaningful buyouts.

The semiconductor giant scooped up the Israeli autonomous vehicle tech firm in a deal worth a staggering $15.3 billion, making it the biggest purchase of a company focused solely on the self-driving market to-date.

The acquisition underscored the massive amount of cash that’s being spent on autonomous driving right now. Intel’s own automated driving group has now joined forces with Mobileye’s renowned computer vision technology, immediately cementing Intel’s status as a leader on the chip side of the business.


3.       JAB Holdings Purchases Panera Bread

In a move that has had major ramifications for the retail restaurant industry, German conglomerate JAB Holdings purchased fast-casual chain Panera Bread for $315 per share earlier this year. With the deal, JAB added Panera’s bakery cafes to its portfolio of breakfast-oriented brands, which includes Krispy Kreme, Einstein Bros. Bagels, and Keurig Green Mountain.

The buyout was another major deal in a series of several purchases involving notable restaurant chains. Also this year, Darden Restaurants (DRI - Free Report) snapped up Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, and Burger King owner Restaurant Brands International (QSR - Free Report) bought out Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

In its most recent quarter before the buyout was announced, Panera reported that company-owned comparable store sales increased 5.3%. It had been an up-and-down few years for Panera’s stock, but JAB appeared to snag the brand at an opportune time.


4.       Gilead (GILD - Free Report) ) Scoops Up Kite Pharma

Without a doubt, Gilead’s acquisition of Kite Pharma will go down as one of 2017’s most important biotech deals. Industry behemoth Gilead will pay $180.00 per share in cash for Kite, valuing the buyout at nearly $12 billion.

How could a relatively small biotech research firm be worth that much money? Well, it comes down to Kite’s pipeline, which includes a CAR-T therapy that is expected to be approved by the FDA in November.

CAR-T is a newly emerging method of treating cancer that includes making genetic changes to a patient’s immune T-cells and reinjecting them into the body to attack cancer cells. Many industry analysts believe that CAR-T will revolutionize the cancer treatment market, and Gilead’s deal with Kite was one of the first major investments in CAR-T by a large biotech company.


5.       Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) ) Buys Whole Foods

Last but not least, we have the monumental Amazon-Whole Foods deal. This one was obviously going to make the list, as it is has been perhaps the biggest headline on Wall Street all year and has major consequences for several industries.

The deal was valued at $13.7 billion, or $42 per Whole Foods share. This was a somewhat surprising move by Amazon—and not because the company is shy about spending money. No, what shocked investors was the fact that Amazon was willing to spend nearly $14 billion on what many considered to be a gamble with a brick-and-mortar retailer.

We’ve already seen Amazon slash prices on several popular products throughout Whole Foods stores, and we expect to see the e-commerce king parlay its new real estate into an advantage for delivering goods. Whether Amazon paid the right price for Whole Foods is up for debate, but this is a future-minded move that will take years to fully develop.


Want more stock market analysis from this author? Make sure to follow @Ryan_McQueeney on Twitter!

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