The volume and value of M&A activity in the first half of 2013 is at its lowest level since the first half of 2004.
Globally, during the first six months of this year 16,187 deals with a collective value of $926.7bn were recorded, a drop of almost 20% in volume and 27% in value on the previous six months, making these the weakest half year results in almost 10 years.
Commenting on the findings, Edward Braham, head of Freshfields’ global corporate practice said: "Last year blockbuster deals like Glencore/Xstrata helped M&A activity start 2012 strongly but confidence petered out, leading to a slowdown in activity levels after the summer, particularly for the mid-market."
"‘What we are seeing now is the impact of that slowdown, as many of today’s deals would have been planned back then."
On a more positive note, Braham says 2013 activity levels have started to pick up with major deals like 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway's acquisition of Heinz being a sign that market confidence is recovering, even if this hasn’t yet flowed through into the figures.
"It will be interesting to see whether recent stock market volatility will have an impact on the pipeline, but at the moment confidence seems to be holding."