We've been taking a close look at middle-market dealmaking activity in the first three quarters of the year, and what we see is sobering. The year began well, and expectations that 2015 would be as prosperous for M&A as 2014 were met for the most part in the first quarter. But it’s been pretty much downhill ever since, with the second quarter yielding fewer completed transactions than the first and the third quarter even fewer than the second, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

It’s tempting to argue against the data. For one thing, other reports have lauded 2015 as a banner year for M&A. But if you peak under the lid of the data they cite, you’ll find they’re referring to deal announcements, not completions, and you’ll see that they are buoyed up by some mega mergers well beyond the scope of the middle market.

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