Our special report profiling the winners of Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2013 M&A Mid-Market Awards proved 2014’s most well-read story on www.TheMiddleMarket.com. Other topics that resonated included: the lower middle market; the growth of handbag maker Vera Bradley; and five technologies fueling health care deals. Check out the top 15 M&A stories of 2014, below.


1.       GTCR, Hormel, the Riverside Co-CEOs and Others Win 2013 M&A Mid-Market Awards
Despite a lackluster dealmaking climate in 2013, the winners of Mergers & Acquisitions’ 7th Annual M&A Mid-Market Awards outpaced the competition to grow and innovate in 2013. We profiled the winners in our April 2014 cover story. Please note: The nomination deadline for the 2014 awards is Jan. 31., 2015. 



2.       Life in the Lower Middle Market

Tactical planning, specialization and flexibility are keys to success in smaller deals, said Brynwood Partners’ Joan McCabe and others who invest in the lower middle market. We focused on the realm of deals between $10 million and $250 million in our March cover story.




3.       How Vera Bradley Grew to Become Fourth Largest Handbag Maker
Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, founder of the accessories company she named after her mother, charted the company’s progress over three decades during a fireside chat conducted by Mergers & Acquisitions and hosted by ACG New York Women of Leadership. We featured the conference in our daily news coverage.




4.       5 Technologies That Drove Health Care M&A in 2014

As the Affordable Care Act brought more patients into the U.S. health care system, the need to pare down costs and improve efficiencies became more urgent. Cloud computing and data analytics spurred a wave of health care M&A, as we explored in our August cover story.




5.       Turnaround Tuesday: Las Vegas Hard Rock Casino Aims to Avoid Foreclosure

The property is one of many struggling hotels and casinos, including the Fontainebleau Las Vegas, the Riviera and the Silver Legacy Resort Casino. We featured the Las Vegas Hard Rock Casino’s troubles in our weekly Turnaround Tuesday column.



6.       Ace Hardware Absorbs Emery-Waterhouse

Two household names came together, as Ace acquired the 170-year-old distributor of lumber, paint and other industrial products -- the first deal for Ace since December 2012, when it purchased the Westlake Hardware chain. We featured the transaction in our daily news coverage.




7.       Top Mid-Market Deals Completed in 2013 by Industry

In transactions worth $1 billion or less, the most active sub-sectors in 2013 were real estate; business services; oil and gas; prepackaged software; and hotels and casinos, as shown in the chart featured in our February cover story, a wrap up of 2013.




8.       Finance Finesse: Unitranche Structures Face Competition

The competitiveness of the market has driven senior cash flow and mezzanine lenders to give a little bit on yield to win back market share, said Christine Tiseo, managing director at Lincoln International. We covered the trend in our monthly Finance Finesse column.



9.       Mid-Market Pulse: Manufacturing M&A Expected to Surge Over Next 12 Months

Dealmakers polled in April predicted that M&A in the manufacturing sector would expand,  according to the Mergers & Acquisitions’ Mid-Market Pulse (MMP), a forward-looking sentiment indicator derived from monthly surveys of approximately 250 executives published in partnership with McGladrey LLP. We publish the MMP monthly.


10.   Guest Article: Predictive Analytics is Tailor-Made for M&A

Dealmakers are leveraging cutting-edge tools to learn more about targets, negotiate deal terms and smooth out the integration, said David Williams (pictured), CEO of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, and Chris Ruggeri, M&A services leader of Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics, in this essay from our monthly series of contributed articles.



11.   Mid-Market M&A Conditions Index: Early-Stage Deal Flow Surges

Dealmakers polled in March reported the biggest uptick in leads and letters of intent in six months of surveys, according to the Mid-Market M&A Conditions Index (MACI), a barometer created by Mergers & Acquisitions and sponsored by PwC. Derived from monthly surveys of approximately 250 executives, the MACI is published monthly.



12.   Financial Services Sector is Teeming with Targets

As regulators all over the world pressured banks to divest non-core assets, M&A heated up in the financial services industry, and opportunities for buyers abounded. We featured the development in our February cover story.




13.  Regions' Timberland Group Sold, Maintains $12B Pension Client

RMK Timberland was sold by Regions Financial, which is focusing on core banking activities. We included the story, published by our sister SourceMedia publication Investment Management Mandate Pipeline, in our daily news coverage.




14.  Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements Feed Consumers and Deals

Buyers from a wide range of industries capitalized on consumer appetite for Muscle Milk, Slim-Fast, Soylent and other nutrition supplements, as we reported in our September cover story.




15.   Distressed Company Watch List

In this installment of our weekly column from February, the companies that had indicated doubt about continuing as going concerns in SEC filings included: Anacor Pharmaceuticals, Mobilesmith and Viggle.


For the previous year’s most-read stories, see The Top 15 Mid-Market M&A Stories of 2013.  

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