The value of deals targeting companies in the Middle East increased to $5.71bn in the first quarter of 2012, from a low of $2.21bn in the fourth quarter of last year.

While the volume of deals fell by 33% in the first quarter of this year, with deal numbers slipping from 87 to 58, the value of individual deals actually increased, according to Zephyr, a deals database published by BvD.

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The Middle East results marked a stark contrast to North America where the value of deals targeting businesses in the continent fell for the second quarter in a row. With transactions in North America totalling $191bn in the first quarter of 2012, Zephyr reported this was 40% lower than the previously recorded $317.7bn in the first quarter of 2011, and 20% lower than the estimated $239.3bn value of deals in the fourth quarter of 2011.

According to the latest series of merger and acquisition reports from Zephyr, the value of deals into the Middle East in the first quarter of 2012 was a significant improvement on the first quarter of last year during the Arab Spring, which totalled $3.79bn. Although the number of deals has fallen, the value of individual deals are significantly higher this year.

Zephyr highlighted two deals in the first part of this year that surpassed the $1bn mark and accounted for 68% of the total value of all deals. Centurion Investment’s acquisition of a 40% stake in Abu Dhabi-based UAE Exchange was this quarter’s largest deal worth $2bn, and a rights issue by Qatar Telecom was the second largest deal, reported to be worth $1.88bn, whereby the company offered shares on a two-for-five basis at $21 a piece.

The Middle East’s performance also remained markedly positive when compared with the Asia-Pacific region, where the value of deals targeting companies dropped by 29%, from $231.6bn in the fourth quarter of 2011, to $164.7bn. Moreover, this performance was significantly lower than that recorded in the first quarter of last year where the value of deals were reportedly worth $221.5bn. In fact, Zephyr noted that both the volume and value of deals were at their lowest level in this quarter compared with the previous 13 quarters that date back to the beginning of 2009.

The value of deals targeting western European companies fell by 17% on a quarter-by-quarter basis, from $218.7bn recorded in the first quarter of 2011 to $162.5bn in the first quarter of this year. The number of deals also dropped, from 4737 in the first quarter of last year to 3962 transactions in the first quarter of 2012.