About 30 percent of the 74 M&A professionals, advisers and corporate executives who participated in the survey said they anticipated higher deal activity next year, while 47 percent thought there wouldn't be significant change in 2017. Many of the factors that influenced the market in 2016 are expected to drive the market in the coming year.
What to expect going forward
Smaller deals and those by privately held firms will lead the way. Almost three-quarters of the respondents (72 percent) thought deals with a value of less than $50m would increase in 2017, and 68 percent expected that M&A activity would increase among privately held businesses.
In support of those expectations, respondents cited some of the same factors represented in last year's survey, including aging business owners looking to sell and concerns that the selling window - propped open by low interest rates and the availability of capital - might close in 2017. Some sellers may look to complete deals they've been working on by year-end, also in part over concerns that there could be an increase in the capital gains tax in 2017. Others may wait, as earnings have stabilized for some businesses, potentially decreasing the pressure to sell right away.
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