The number of mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, joint ventures and private equity deals targeting Middle East-based companies fell 58 per cent in 2011 to just 386 transactions, according to UK-based market research firm Zephyr.

The value of the deals fell for the third year in a row in 2011 to $12.7bn, down 23 per cent from 2010, with the banking sector accounting for 46 per cent of the total value.  

The economic uncertainty brought about by the Arab uprisings was the main contributor to the fall in investment over the year. Private equity firms completed just 11 deals across the region, of which only two were worth more than $10m.

Yet the picture is not so bleak across the region. Qatar, the UAE and Iraq saw more deals in the past year when compared to 2010 and Jordan had the most deals in 2011 with 205, up from 49 deals completed in the previous year.

Total investment in Qatar totalled $4.42bn in 2011, almost three times as much as the amount reported in 2010. The UAE attracted the second highest level of investment with $3.54bn, up almost 50 per cent since 2010.

Kuwait’s investment dropped the most to $1.77bn, down 58 per cent compared with 2010.