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Private equity investors announced transactions of $16.40 billion for January- October, a 55 per cent jump over the year-ago period, driven by big-ticket deals, says a report. For October alone, the deal value read $1.6 billion. According to assurance, tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton's latest Dealtracker, January-October saw 624 PE deals worth of $16.40 billion, but the number of transactions declined by 25 per cent, indicating an increase in average deal size. January-October this year saw 3 deals in the billion- dollar category and 31 deals valued at and above $100 million as against 1 and 23, respectively, in the same period last year. However, PE investments witnessed a declining trend in October this year as against the year-ago period, both in terms of deal value (down 22 per cent) and number of transactions (a fall of 39 per cent). aThe declining deal trend last month was primarily due to absence of large funding rounds compared to October 2016, which saw seven deals valued over $50 million as against only 3 such deals in October this year, the report said. From a sectoral perspective, e-commerce still rules the roost, with $1.2 billion of the total deal value, while startups still continue to draw investors' attention with 65 per cent of deal volumes, the report said. E-commerce sector contributed 74 per cent of investment value, driven by Tencent Holdings and SoftBank's investment of $1,100 million in Olacabs, which marks the second-largest investment in the e-commerce space after Flipkart in the current year. Going forward, Grant Thornton India LLP Partner Prashant Mehra said that "with India moving up by 30 positions in World Bank's Ease of Doing Business rankings, and various reforms finally showing a positive impact on the economy and the stock market, transactions should now start to inch upwards".