The UK appears to be losing its mergers and acquisitions (M&A) appeal in 2016.
UK-targeted M&A activity has fallen 39 per cent year on year in the first quarter to $45.9bn (£32.6bn), according to a global report from Dealogic.
The fall in UK-targeted M&A has been linked to the looming EU referendum and a weakened pound.
Dealogic's first quarter report, made up of preliminary figures, found global M&A has fallen 25 per cent on the same period in 2015 to $701.5bn.
This followed three successive quarters in which total deals value exceeded $1 trillion in a record-breaking year for global M&A.
So far in 2016, technology has been the top sector for deals, with $100.3bn worth announced.
This is up 10 per cent year on year and marks the sector's best first-quarter performance since 2000.
Healthcare M&A, meanwhile, was down 56 per cent year on year to $58.7bn.
The report also highlighted that China's outbound M&A volume for the quarter – $104.3bn – is already approaching the record annual volume recorded last year of $106.4bn. China-targeted M&A, meanwhile, fell by seven per cent to $97.3bn.
The United States remained the top-targeted nation, with $248.7bn of deals announced. But this was down 40 per cent on the first quarter of 2015.
Iain Macmillan, head of global M&A at the firm, said: “Interest from overseas buyers in UK businesses remains. However, market volatility, the weakening of the pound and the upcoming European referendum are causing a major pause in domestic and outbound dealmaking.”