Traditionally, December is a strong month for M&A, as private equity firms and strategic buyers race to close deals by the end of the year. In keeping with that phenomenon, December delivered 156 completed middle-market transactions, up slightly from November’s tally of 134, according to Thomson Reuters. Despite the increase, however, deal volume was significantly lower than the previous December, which generated 209 completed transactions.

In another sign of weakness in the middle market, December’s composite score on the Mid-Market M&A Conditions Index (MACI) indicated a contraction in dealmaking for the first time since Mergers & Acquisitions began our monthly surveys in the fall of 2013. Survey respondents cited a wide range of issues dampening deal flow, including rising interest rates, slowing economic growth, uncertainty about the upcoming elections and fears about terrorism throughout the world.

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