AV Birla group made another big deal on Monday. The Mumbai based business group acquired US-based Columbian Chemicals Company for about $800 million.

AV Birla group is one of the most active groups in M&A. It has made 17 deals worth $8.1 billion over the last five years.

In 2007, the group firm Hindalco Industries acquired Canada's Novelis for $6 billion, which is the biggest from the group. The other big deal was in 2006 when the group acquired the stake of Tatas and other investors from Idea Cellular for about $960 million.

The Birlas are not the only ones who has taken huge M&A bets. So who else are the most acquisitive Indian business groups? We dug into the data of VCCEdge on merger and acquisitions done by various Indian groups and found that the Tata Group is the most acquisitive Indian business house. The Tatas have done 72 M&A deals (both domestic and cross border) worth $22 billion (announced deal value) since 2005. Tata Steel's 2006 acquisition of UK's Corus for $12.1 billion was the biggest.

Tata house gets the honour of the most acquisitive group because its various group entities are active in M&A. The group comprises of 91 companies. Among them Tata Steel is the most active with 14 deals under its belt. The other active companies include Tata Consultancy Services (6 deals), Tata Communications (9 deals), Tata Chemicals, Tata Motors, the group holding firm Tata Sons, Tata Global Beverages and Tata Coffee.

Next comes Mahindra Group which has done 28 deals worth an announced dela value of $2.1 billion. Mahindra has also done a variety of deals ranging from Ssangyong Motor Company of South Korea to electric car maker Reva, the troubled Satyam Computer Services, two-wheeler maker Kinetic Motor Company, and even an aircraft manufacturer Gippsland Aeronautics of Australia.

Both Reliance groups are very active too. Reliance ADAG has done 24 deals worth about $2 billion, which includes telecom, power and media deals.

Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries group has done 22 deals worth $5.8 billion, which include three billion dollar plus deals. They are the acquisition of shale gas asset in the US, investment in Infotel Broadband, and the merger deal with Reliance Petroleum.

The Essar group is more aggressive than the Abmanis in this game. They have also done 22 deals worth a total deal value of more than $7 billion. They include the acquisition of BPL Communications, Canadian steel company Algoma, Trinity Coal and Warid Congo.

In terms of mid-sized deals, Wipro ranks the highest. They have done 21 deals worth $1.3 billion. Wipro's acquisitions range from IT companies to FMCG firms. The other groups that are getting aggressive on the M&A front include Dabur Group which has done 9 deals worth $500 million and Future Group which has done 10 deals.

India Inc is definitely mastering the M&A game.

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