After a strong first quarter, dealmaking slowed slightly in April. The composite score on Mergers & Acquisitions’ M&A Conditions Index (MACI) dropped 3.5 points. Completed deals in the middle market also declined from the previous month, according to Thomson Reuters. Fewer than 700 middle-market deals closed in April, compared with about 850 that closed in March. Contributing to the slower pace were concerns about the federal budget, tax policy, healthcare legislation, trade agreements and global politics, dealmakers said on our monthly survey.

One area of recent M&A activity we’ve been tracking is the restaurant business. In April, Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI), the owner of Olive Garden, acquired Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen for $780 million in cash. Also in April, Oak Hill Capital Partners closed its purchase of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc. from Sentinel Capital Partners for $525 million. We’re working on an in-depth feature about deals in the restaurant business. Among the private equity firms backing restaurants is Larsen MacColl Partners, which invested in Harvest, a farm-to-table, full-service restaurant in 2016.

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