The UAE topped the region in terms of total value of disclosed domestic merger and acquisition deals, comprising approximately 54 per cent worth $2.2bn; followed by Qatar also at 21 per cent worth $880.4m.
In the domestic space, the UAE also led the number of announced acquisitions with 11 deals. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait followed with seven acquisitions each, according to Ernst & Young's MENA Mergers & Acquisitions update.
The total value of disclosed mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region rose from $7.3bn in Q1 2012 to $14.6bn in Q1 2013, increasing by 100 per cent.
In Q1 2013, 98 deals were announced against 101 deals in the last year, a decline of 3 per cent.
Phil Gandier, Mena Head of Transaction Advisory Services at Ernst & Young Mena, said: "This increase can be attributed to growing investor confidence, improvement in the access to credit, relatively better convergence in pricing between investors and sellers and a hint of improved macro economic conditions. This is especially true of the markets and the sectors that saw the most deal activity - a trend that we expect to continue."
The top 10 deals in Q1 2013 were valued at $12.1bn which represented 83 per cent of the total disclosed Mena M&A deal value.
Of these, five are outbound (regional business buying international assets), three are domestic (regional business buying regional assets) and two are inbound (international business buying regional assets).
The top deal by value was worth $6.4bn, involving the acquisition of Orascom Telecom Holding in Egypt by Baskindale Limited in Cyprus followed by the merger of UAE based Sorouh Real Estate and Aldar Properties for $2bn. These two deals comprised 69 per cent of the top ten disclosed Mena M&A deals by value.
In Mena, attractive sectors were banking & capital markets, and professional firms & services which led deal activity with eight deals each, followed by oil & gas with seven deals, consumer products with six deals and real estate and telecom with four deals each. The sector with the largest disclosed deal value was telecom, representing $7bn.
For outbound announced deal activity, attractive sectors were telecommunications with five deals followed by real estate with four deals.