What will have a big impact on the middle market over the next year? To find out, we asked a handful of private equity investors, lenders, investment bankers and advisers to make some predictions. Social media is top of mind for Watermill Group's Ben Procter, who says it will play an increasing role in PE. "The industry has been very slow to pick up on social media, but it's a trend that I think is really going to take root."

Another development Procter points to is 3-D printing. We've already started to see the technology fuel M&A with the recent $403 million purchase of MakerBot Industries LLC by rival Stratasys Ltd. Technology innovations, such as 3-D printing, will lead to "a lot more excitement in the manufacturing sector," predicts Procter.

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