According to KPMG Corporate Finance, the total value of global M&A deals fell 56%, from $1,020bn (£685bn) in the first six months of 2001 to $448bn for this year.
UK activity fell 52%, with only £70bn of deals recorded in the first half of 2002.
The level of activity is now lower than at any time since 1997, the firm said.
But the research showed the middle market activity had not performed as badly, showing a drop of only 44% in value.
KPMG’s Stephen Barrett said: ‘We are seeing the lowest levels of activity in five years. We had hoped for positive progress in 2002 but we have taken a step backwards.’
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