Market Commentary

Published on: 02/26/2016
After predicting record level M&A volume for 2015 at the conclusion of 2014, we started to withdraw from that view last July. Despite our own record level deal activity, we were starting to sense a pull-back that would threaten our earlier prediction. That perception became reality as 2015, although a torrid pace for most deal makers, fell just shy of the historic peaks experienced in 2014.
Published on: 12/08/2015
Since the middle of 2014, we have been putting forth predictions that the torrid deal pace of 2014 would be surpassed in 2015.  We have maintained that position throughout the year, despite public market deviations and an increasingly uncertain socio-political environment globally.  Heading into the holiday season, the empirical transaction data has forced us to change our tune.  
Published on: 07/20/2015
Times have been crazy. Uncertainty has spiked.  The most dramatic single-day market losses in a decade have been followed by the largest gains in 7+ years. Some presidential candidates are “sucking up all the oxygen in the room” while others still seem to be struggling with basic email protocol.  In our opinion, it’s all just noise that will normalize at some point soon.  
Published on: 04/20/2015
When the 2015 M&A race began, we predicted that 2015 was not only going to surpass the pace of 2014, but set an all-time record for deal volume.  Thus far, 2015 is off and running.  First quarter deal volume is ahead of 2014, debt financing is readily available and valuation multiples for larger transactions have again expanded (most likely due to a highly competitive market).  Everyone involved in the deal business is heads-down/flat-out, so all is good – right?  Not necessarily.
Published on: 02/17/2015
In our last newsletter, we noted that M&A data had finally caught up with the market swell based on the deal volume we were experiencing. We also predicted that activity levels we were seeing in Q4 would trump 2013 and expected the year to finish at near-record levels. That proved true to form and, while the 2012 record was not broken, activity pushed the ceiling. More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that we are seeing an acceleration in the market with improved dynamics.
Published on: 12/01/2014
In quarters past, we have been reporting on increased M&A activity in the middle market, noting a sharp rise in new companies preparing to enter the market and deals moving closer to closing. Despite the growing backlog of transactions within our own firm and deal makers across the industry generally feeling like the market was roaring, formal statistics about deal volume and closings seemed to be lagging the activity. Well, that is no longer the case. Moreover, deal closing activity in Q4 – though still a bit early to say – appears to be dwarfing 2013 levels.
Published on: 08/21/2014
The recent stock market correction drew everyone’s attention. But within a prolonged bull market run, M&A deal makers took the public market blip in stride. Putting things in perspective, we have experienced over 1,000 days since the last correction (i.e., a drop of 10%+). In that context, this was an expected speed bump – and probably overdue. Regardless, the fluctuation in public equities has had no bearing on the M&A market. We continue to experience a robust environment with deal volume up 11% in the first half of 2014.
Published on: 05/22/2014
During the prolonged recession, business owners, individual investors and dealmakers alike became accustomed to a continuous pounding. Surges of recovery were too frequently followed by significant negative economic and political developments, leaving most people constantly looking over their shoulders. The hyper-critical (some would argue cynical) sentiment made it virtually impossible to acknowledge the mounting positive developments and forward momentum occurring. It was almost as if we would not allow ourselves to be happy, or otherwise commit to buying-in to the stabilization.
Published on: 02/27/2014
Everyone involved in the middle market deal business is well aware of downward statistical trends from 2012 to 2013. Deal makers can easily recall a year (2013) that failed at several points to gain the expected momentum. The charts tell the “rear view mirror” story, but to understand the pulse of the current M&A market, you need to read between the lines. Throw out the 2012 record breaking year and the monstrous Q4 ’12 as business owners sprinted to the finish line to beat the looming changes in the capital gains tax rate. That’s history; it’s old news.
Published on: 08/21/2013
The M&A environment improved slightly in Q2 2013 from the previous quarter after record-breaking deal activity in 2012. The increase in Q4 2012 and subsequent decrease in Q1 2013 were expected, as buyers and sellers worked to finalize transactions before the capital gains tax rate increase. Transaction volume should continue to accelerate in 2013 as strategic acquirers and private equity firms focus on new investments, as evidenced by an increase in deal activity of 3.4% from Q1 2013 to Q2 2013.

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