The long-anticipated return of deal flow may not occur until 2014, warns Christian Bullitt, principal, business development, of Philadelphia private equity firm LLR Partners and a board member of ACG Philadelphia. Mergers & Acquisitions caught up with him at the chapter’s M&A East Conference, taking place at the Philadelphia Convention Center on Oct. 8-9.

What are people saying at M&A East?

Where are the deals? It’s been a very quiet year from a new-deal-opportunity standpoint. If you talk to any adviser out there about this year versus last year, last year was their best year ever, and this year, they’re way off.

Why has deal flow been so slow?

There was so much fervor to get everything done before Dec. 31. Everything that would have gotten done in the first quarter got backloaded into the end of 2012, so it left a big hole in the pipeline of every investment banker.

Is there a scarcity of assets, and when a good company is for sale, is it demanding a higher price?

I think if you look at entrepreneurs, they have not been forced to sell or raise capital. There’s a scarcity value of good companies being out there, and so yes, when somebody comes up with a good property everybody runs, but I don’t think multiples are all that much higher.

For more on the conference, see “M&A East Checks Deal Flow’s Pulse.”

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