October, which is jammed with networking conferences hosted by the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) and others, is typically a highly productive month for the middle market. In 2014, the tenth month of the year generated 258 closed deals, more than any other month. But while the volume of completed deals in October 2015 was essentially flat when compared with September, the harvest was paltry compared with the previous October. The month yielded just 154 completed mid-market deals -- 100 fewer deals than the same month in 2015. (See related chart).

The data continues the downward trend we’ve seen for several months. After a strong first quarter, deal flow has been dropping all year. In 2015, January -- which delivered 237 deals -- is still the month to beat. Mid-market M&A in the second quarter was lower than the first, and the third quarter was lower still. The gap in year-to-date totals between the two years is growing. Comparing the first 10 months of both years, 2015 produced 1,856 completed transactions; whereas 2014 produced 2,026 (difference of 170 deals).

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