The looming referendum was not enough to put European Union countries off doing business with the UK last year, newly-compiled figures show.
Some $206bn (£143bn) worth of deals in which businesses based in other EU countries acquired British counterparts were announced last year.
This marked a new record, according to Dealogic, and was up from $12.3bn worth of deals announced in 2014.
It also followed three consecutive years in which the level of deals decreased.
The total was buoyed by Belgian beverage company Anheuser-Busch InBev’s $117.4bn bid for SABMiller, announced in October last year, which was the biggest UK-targeted M&A deal on record.
The year-to-date total in 2016 is $15.3bn, which is down from $72.5bn in the same period last year, with the figure boosted by Royal Dutch Shell's $66bn acquisition of BG Group, announced in April 2015. But the 2016 year-to-date figure has already beaten the full-year figure for 2014.
Meanwhile, UK domestic M&A activity was down 19 per cent in 2015 to $85.3bn. And UK acquisitions into the EU decreased by 54 per cent in 2015 to $23.2bn.
Commenting on the figures, Caroline Rae, a corporate M&A partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, told City A.M.: “The UK is an attractive destination for international M&A dealmakers for many reasons, including the availability of quality assets, attractive valuation of targets, a low corporation tax rate and the availability and costs of finance.
“We are currently in a period of uncertainty with the threat of Brexit but the UK is expected to maintain its position at the heart of the European M&A market.”
Britain is set to vote on whether to remain inside the EU on 23 June. The referendum has been looming since May last year when the Conservative Party, which included a pledge to hold a referendum in its manifesto, won the general election.