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Global merger and acquisition activity dropped to a 10-year low for the first quarter, according to new data from Refinitiv.

The value of global M&A dropped by 44% in the first quarter, compared with the same quarter last year, to US$580.0 billion.

The volume of deals was also down by 17% from the first quarter of 2022, the firm said.

Deal-making activity in Europe plunged by 60%, and was down by 47% in the U.S., Refinitiv reported. M&A also declined by 23% in Asia.

The health-care sector led the way in first-quarter M&A, with US$96.5 billion worth of deal activity, followed by the tech sector and industrials.

The decline in deal-making was reflected in a drop for mega-deals (transactions worth over US$10 billion), the firm noted, with just six big deals for a combined US$113.3 billion in the first quarter, down by 50% from last year to the lowest level since 2014.

JP Morgan led the industry league tables for M&A advice in announced deals, outpacing Goldman Sachs, which dropped to second place.

Centerview Partners LLC ranked third, up from 14th place, while Bank of America Securities and Morgan Stanley rounded out the top five.

RBC Capital Markets was the top-ranked Canadian firm. It took 10th place in the global rankings, while BMO Capital Markets ranked 20th, up from 47th place last year.

For completed transactions, BMO and RBC ranked 11th and 12th, respectively, up from 25th and 36th place in last year’s rankings.