Dealmaking has plunged across the world as the calamitous health and economic impact of coronavirus sends M&A into the deep freeze.
Data from Refinitiv showed global M&A activity in the first quarter is down 28 per cent on the same quarter last year at $697bn (£560bn).
By number of deals, worldwide M&A has fallen 14 per cent so far this year to a six-year low.
Global M&A for deals larger than $10bn fell 57 per cent compared to the same period last year.
US M&A has fallen 51 per cent so far this year to reach a six year-low.
European M&A by contrast has been bolstered by five of the largest deals announced globally in the period, growing to $232bn in the quarter.
Matt Toole, Refinitiv’s director of deals intelligence, said: “Global M&A plummeted last week, two weeks after effects were seen on global equity issuance, as the world comes to terms with the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on both human health and the global economy.”
Ben Higson, London corporate head at law firm Hogan Lovells, said: “For the M&A market, not all activity has halted. There are deals still being done, particularly those that have been underway for some time.
“Some are even commencing. Buyers and sellers need to account for the current environment and whether any aspect of it could pause or even stop a live process.”