If there’s anything M&A professionals dislike, it’s uncertainty. And heading into 2020, there’s more than enough uncertainty to go around, including questions about the economy, international trade, impeachment, domestic politics and more. The funny thing is, the lack of clarity may actually make the first half of the year a great time for M&A, as dealmakers push to close transactions before the looming uncertainty of Election Day and its outcome. We conducted interviews with 8 investment bankers and other M&A advisors. Some said the first half of the year will be robust, while others said the uncertainty may have a negative impact throughout 2020. "In the last two election cycles, there has been a marked decline in M&A activity versus the year prior, with a notable decrease in the months leading up to Election Day," says J.R. Doolos, director, M&A, KeyBanc Capital Markets. "Although we are not advising clients to make M&A decisions based solely on the potential uncertainty that is created during an election process, it has been a contributing factor in determining the appropriate timing to pursue a transaction. Given these dynamics, we are expecting a significant number of assets to come to market during the first half of 2020 and push towards a closing by late second or early third quarter to avoid potential uncertainty later in the year." Read the full story, What’s ahead for M&A in 2020? We ask 8 advisors. Mergers & Acquisitions has opened up the nomination process for the 13th Annual M&A Mid-Market Awards, which will honor leading dealmakers and deals that set the standard for transactions in the middle market in 2019. Nominations are accepted only through our electronic forms. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. There is no fee. For more information on the nomination process and what we seek in winning candidates, see Call for nominations: Submissions for the M&A Mid-Market Awards due Feb. 7. DEAL NEWS XPO Logistics Inc. (NYSE: XPO), the transportation conglomerate run by serial dealmaker Brad Jacobs, is considering strategic options including the possible sale or spinoff of one or more business units. The company has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) for the review. While XPO hasn’t determined which businesses it may divest, it plans to keep its less-than-truckload business, which handles relatively small freight. The transportation and logistics sector has been consolidating for years because it’s highly fragmented and companies in the space can benefit from scale. Read the full story by Bloomberg News: XPO Logistics explores breakup of transportation company EQT is targeting to raise around $16.4 billion for its ninth flagship. The firm said the fund will likely follow the same strategy of the last one it raised in 2018. EQT focuses on the healthcare and technology, media and telecom sectors mainly across Europe. Turnspire Capital Partners has acquired MPI Holdings, a supplier of metal automotive parts. Chapman & Cutler advised Turnspire. Houlihan Lokey Capital and Haynes and Boone advised MPI. GI Partners has acquired a majority stake in DR Fortress, Hawaii's largest data center operator. Paul Hastings advised GI. Layer 7 Capital and McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP advised DR. Weinberg Capital Group has exited its investment in Aero 3. The latter offers wheel and brake maintenance and repair services to the aerospace sector. Keybanc Capital Markets and Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP advised Weinberg. Clearlake Capital-backed Janus International Group has purchased Steel Storage Australasia. The target offers self-storage design and construction services in the Australasian market. Gemspring Capital has acquired Skyline Displays, a provider of displays, exhibits and services for trade shows and large corporate events. General Atlantic has invested in Aces, which offers applied behavioral analysis in home, school and clinic settings to individuals and families that are impacted with autism. AUA Private Equity-backed Gourmet Culinary has acquired Van-Lang Enterprises, a manufacturer and distributor of appetizers and hors d'oeuvres across the Midwest. Meketa Investment Group has revealed an updated brand with a new wesbite. The firm says the changes are intended to better reflect and communicate Meketa's offerings and competitive positioning. PEOPLE MOVES Ken Biele has been hired as CEO at Orix Capital Partners-backed Hoffman Southwest. The latter is a provider of water flow, inspection, repair and cleaning services. Biele previously served as CEO of Advanced Micro Instruments. Trevor Myers has been named CEO at Turnspire Capital-backed MPI Holdings. Myers is the former CEO of Cloyes Gear. Marc Kenny has joined law firm Squire Patton Boggs as a partner where is focusing on private equity and M&A. FEATURED CONTENT Mergers & Acquisitions has named the 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. This marks the fifth year we have produced the list, which recognizes female leaders with significant influence inside their companies and in the wider dealmaking world. It’s been gratifying to watch the project evolve over the years – and become more influential itself. This year, we received more nominations than ever before. As a result, we expanded the number honored to 42 in 2020, up from 36 in 2019. Many dealmakers are new to our list, including Rockwood Equity Partners' Kate Faust, William Blair's Shay Brokemond and Avante Capital Partners' Ivelisse Simon. Read our full coverage of all the champions of change on our list, including Q&As with each individual. Mergers & Acquisitions examines the impact of 7 technologies on M&A in the retail sector. Read the whole series: Overview: Retail Tech M&A: 7 Technologies Driving Change Retail Tech M&A #1: Nike, McDonald's, PayPal, add customization, IoT Retail Tech M&A #2: Why Walmart and other retailers are buying artificial intelligence startups Retail Tech M&A #3: Amazon leads race to build fulfillment centers Retail Tech M&A #4: Do robots fill orders faster? Retail Tech M&A #5: Voice recognition gives retailers more ways to communicate Retail Tech M&A #6: Data improves customer service Retail Tech M&A #7: Demand for convenience drives growth in mobile ordering To celebrate deals, dealmakers and dealmaking firms, Mergers & Acquisitions produces three special reports every year: the M&A Mid-Market Awards; the Rising Stars of Private Equity; and the Most s for each, see Special reports overview: M&A Mid-Market Awards, Rising Stars, Most Influential Women. EVENTS ACG Boston is hosting The Big Deal at the Legal Harborside in Boston on Jan. 21. ACG New York is hosting the 12th annual healthcare conference and bourbon tasting at the Metropolitan Club in New York on Feb. 27. InterGrowth 2020 is taking place at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas from April 20-22.