Where Did Big Banks Make Big Bucks in 2012?

Mergermarket, a publisher of mergers and acquisitions intelligence, has released its roundup of 2012 deal activity.

What are the highlights?Man Measuring Money

The global M&A deal value for 2012 was about $2.1 trillion, a 2.7 percent drop from 2011, while the total deal count dropped 4.7 percent to 12,512. Deals in the second half of the year were worth 13.3 percent more than deals in the first half of the year.

Catalysts are critical to discovering winning stocks. Check out our newest CHEAT SHEET stock picks now.

In the United States, the value of deals was down 4.7 percent to $768.9 billion, with much of the activity coming from a highly active fourth quarter. M&A activity in the fourth-quarter totaled $249.6 billion, a 19.3 percent increase quarter-over-quarter.

Inbound transactions from Japan totaled $62.4 billion on 61 deals, making 2012 the highest year on record. North America accounted for 40.9 percent of total M&A activity by value, while Central and South America accounted for 5.4 percent, and Japan accounted for 3.3 percent. Euro-zone deals were valued at $296.3 billion, accounting for 13.6 percent of global M&A activity and down from 16.1 percent in 2011. European deals outside the euro-zone, valued at $382.4 billion, accounted for 17.6 percent of global M&A activity.

While total M&A activity for the year was relatively soft, top banks fought tooth and nail to advise on every deal…