Dealmaking in the U.S. middle market declined in the third quarter, according to this report from Mergers & Acquisition magazine. The slowdown began in the second quarter, as the number of closed transactions declined versus the first quarter. The report notes that it's unlikely that 2015 will produce the level of middle-market merger activity that 2014 saw. 

There are some bright spots, most notably the lower middle-market and family owned companies, which are motivated to sell while the economy is still relatively stable.  The report notes "M&A activity in the lower middle market..appeared to be thriving." The report is linked here

As memories of the recession fade, there's a sense of "cautious optimism" among middle-market executives related to merger-and-acquisition opportunities, according to this report by Providence, R.I.-based Citizens Commercial Banking. The report is based on a survey of 450 U.S.-based business owners and decisions makers at middle-market firms ($5MM - <$2B annual revenue), supplemented by in-depth interviews conducted by Livonia, Mich.-based Market Strategies International.  

The report details several key findings including: 

  • Many executives believe the market is shifting to favor sellers, although a majority still feels the market conditions favor buyers.
  • Once-passive buyers have reached a "tipping point" and are ready to either buy now or hold off for a year.
  • The impending retirement of the first wave of Baby Boomers has significant implications for M&A.

To download a PDF of the entire report, visit this link.