Last year was not the best for mergers in emerging markets, according to Thomson Reuters data, which shows  mergers & acquisition activity down 4.6 percent from 2012 to $675.2 billion. The number of deals fell even more – by 11.3 percent to 12,748.

The drop-off in emerging M&A activity mirrors a 5 percent fall in the benchmark MSCI emerging stocks index last year, with investors more fearful about the emerging market growth outlook. But unlike stock market performance, emerging market deal activity outstripped the global total, which was down 6 percent from 2012 levels.

The biggest emerging market deal was Brazilian Grupo Oi’s $16 billion planned takeover over of Portugal Telecom,  Thomson Reuters said.

Buyers were most interested in targeting Chinese firms, with more than $200 billion of the deal total going to China, while Russian and Brazilian companies attracted little more than $50 billion each. Energy was the biggest sector, accounting for more than $150 billion in M&A activity, followed by financials at $85 billion.

Morgan Stanley was the most successful deal arranger in emerging markets, at $99 billion in announced deals, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse coming second and third. But fees were down a stiff 12.7 percent from those earned in 2012.