The United Arab Emirates (UAE) remained the top Middle East and North Africa (MENA) country with the highest merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the first quarter of 2023, registering 42 deals worth $2 billion, according to the EY MENA M&A insights report.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and Oman followed with deal values of $1.7 billion, $1.3 billion, $600 million, and $200 million, respectively.

Overall, the MENA region saw a 42% increase in the total value of M&A deals in Q1 2023 year-on-year (YoY).

Deals values across the region surged significantly, revealing robust capital market confidence. However, deal volumes fell by 20% YoY in Q1 2023.

Declining oil prices, lower real GDP per capita growth rates and rising food inflation have combined to negatively impact the M&A market so far in 2023.

M&A activity involving private equity or sovereign wealth funds represented 32% and 68% of the total deal volume and value in the first quarter, respectively.

In comparison, cross-border deals amounted to 57% and 85%, respectively.

Sector-wise, the technology industry reported the highest number of deals in Q1 2023 at 19 worth $461 million in disclosed value, the report said.

(Edited by Brinda Darasha;