The first half of the year proved disappointing for M&A. The number of middle-market deals that closed in the period was lower than any year since 2009, according to data from Thomson Reuters. Total middle-market deal value was lower than it was in 2014 and 2015. (See related chart).

“The market sold off dramatically in the early part of the year, which caused everybody to hit the pause button,” says Daniel O'Connell, CEO of Vestar Capital Partners, a New York private equity firm which has been especially active recently, including selling Sun Products Corp., maker of Snuggle fabric softener, to Henkel AG for $3.6 billion, among  other deals.  

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