Market Commentary

Q1 2017
Global economic uncertainty leading up to the US election and fallout from Brexit had a dampening effect on deal volume with the number of transactions completed in 2016 declining 6.2% compared to the near record level of activity achieved in 2015.
Q4 2016
Year-to-date (YTD) through Q3 2016, we have seen a 16% decline in deal volume, largely driven by an unexpectedly quiet Q1.  The always entertaining Presidential Election contributed to interim market volatility and mixed economic sentiment.  The dynamic of an expected Clinton victory fueled a year
Q3 2016
Despite uncertainty in global markets, middle market M&A valuations in the US have remained strong through Q3 2016.  Trump vs. Hillary, Brexit, interest rates, oil prices and Turkey’s failed coup are all forces that have threatened and, more importantly, failed to destabilize markets.  Instead, domestic M&A activity has remained healthy, highlighted by increased EBITDA multiples across industries and transaction sizes, strong average deal valuations, renewed interest by foreign acquirers and continued interest from private equity (PE) and corporate acquirers.
Q2 2016
Microsoft (NASDAQGS:MSFT) acquires LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) for $27.6B.
Q2 2016
Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) acquires Demandware (NYSE:DWRE) for $2.8B to add e-commerce to its sales & marketing product portfolio.
Q2 2016
Is the M&A music winding down?  Deal volume is off from record setting levels in 2015, which is clear.  Both strategic and private equity buyers have closed fewer deals in Q1 2016 than the previous quarter, following a trend of three straight quarters with a decrease in aggregate volume.
Q1 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.
Q4 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.  
Q3 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.  
Q2 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.

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