By most yardsticks, 2014 was a great year for middle-market M&A. In the U.S. middle market, the year yielded a total deal value of $315.3 billion, the highest since 2007. To measure completed deals, we use data provided by Thomson Reuters. But to gain insight into the early stages of deal flow and the expected future, Mergers & Acquisitions uses original research.

Mergers & Acquisitions and SourceMedia's research team created two custom-made barometers: the Mid-Market M&A Conditions Index (MACI); and the Mid-Market Pulse (MMP). Based on monthly surveys with approximately 250 responses from dealmakers, these important indices have helped us track middle-market M&A closely since activity began to pick up at the end of 2013. The results appear monthly online and in every issue of the magazine.

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