A wide range of topics was discussed by leading dealmakers at the morning keynote panel of Mergers & Acquisitions’ The Best in M&A Speak virtual event, where we announced the winners of the 2021 Top 10 Middle-Market Deals of the Year. Panelists shared their views about: the welcome resurgence of quality deal flow; the post-quarantine return to the office and face-to-face meetings; concern about the potential for tax changes; the urgent need for increased diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the middle market; and the impact of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues on investing. Morning keynote panelists included some of the top dealmakers in the industry: Jeri Harman, founder and chairman of Avante Capital PartnersStewart Kohl, co-CEO of the Riverside Co.; and Ronald Kruszewski, chairman of the board and CEO of Stifel Financial Corp. (NYSE: SF); interviewed by Mergers & Acquisitions’ editor-in-chief Mary Kathleen Flynn.

“I’ll go out on a limb and say, ebullient is what it feels like to me,” said Riverside’s Kohl.  “Based on my 32 years of doing this, this is the best M&A market I can recall – if you define best as being the highest multiple, fastest to sell, easiest time to operate.”

“Buyers are fully engaged, there are record stock prices, and inexpensive debt,” points out Stifel’s Kruszewski. “Put all that together, and you have a very positive environment for middle market M&A.” While agreeing there’s been “a resurgence of quality of deal flow of M&A,”

While agreeing there’s been “a resurgence of quality of deal flow of M&A,” Avante’s Harman says, she’s “cautiously optimistic,” especially with her “lender hat on.”

For the full discussion, watch the video above.  And click here for 2021 Top 10 Middle-Market Deals of the Year.