Purchase prices and multiples are high and the pressure is on for buyers to move quickly to close deals. That gives some middle-market lenders - those that can hold more on their balance sheets - an advantage over others. "Buyers want to close quickly, and that is a differentiator for them in a sale process," says David Brackett, CEO of middle-market lender GE Antares.

"We have had great success putting together programs with our strategic investors that allow us to speak to about $150 million in hold size," Brackett says. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board agreed to buy GE Antares and the rest of GE Capital's Sponsor Finance unit in June, after as General Electric (NYSE: GE) said it would divest GE Capital in April.

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