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The 10 Biggest M&A Deals of 2013

Mergers and acquisitions never reached the fizzy levels experts predicted, but 2013 is still shaping up to be the best year for U.S. deal activity in five years.

Although most mergers and acquisitions ultimately fail to create value for shareholders down the road, it’s hard to say that the economy or markets are truly healthy without them — and that’s not just because investment bankers and corporate law firms need to get paid.

Companies don’t do much wheeling and dealing when markets and the economy are in a funk. A pickup in mergers and acquisitions activity is a sign of confidence — and animal spirits and investor psychology are as critical as anything to ensuring better times ahead.

Despite notching one of the biggest mergers and acquisitions on record, 2013 was hardly a whirlwind of deal activity, but it did pick up smartly.

U.S. mergers and acquisitions volume totalled $865.1 billion in the first nine months of 2013, according to Dealogic. That’s a 39% increase over the same period a year ago — and the highest nine-month total since 2008.

For the top 10 mergers acquisitions of 2013, according to FactSet, read on:

  1. Applied Materials (AMAT) Buys Tokyo Electron (TOELY), $10 billion
  2. Spectra Energy Partners (SEP) Buys Spectra Energy Corp.’s (SE), $9.8 billion
  3. American Airlines (AAMRQ) Buys US Airways (LCC), $11 billion
  4. Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) Buys Life Technologies (LIFE), $13 billion
  5. Liberty Global (LBTYA) Buys Virgin Media, $16 billion
  6. Publicis Groupe (PUBGY) Buys Omnicom Group (OMC), $17 billion
  7. Comcast (CMCSA) Buys NBC Universal Media from General Electric (GE), $17 billion
  8. Michael Dell and Private Equity Firm Silverlake Buy Dell, $25 billion
  9. Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) and 3G Partners Buy H.J. Heinz, $23 billion
  10. Verizon (VZ) Buys Out Verizon Wireless Stake from Vodafone (VOD), $130 billion