We have been receiving requests for data on PE deal activity in the lower middle market, particularly in the sub-$25 million range, and having tracked more than 5,700 PE deals worldwide since 2005 that qualify, we are happy to oblige. Overall deal count appears down, as 2014 is on pace for about 453 PE transactions, well below the 615 from last year. That looks to be mainly due to a decline in activity in the U.S., as the country’s 127 deals as of Friday are a little less than half of last year’s 261. The total also represents America’s lowest percentage of activity this decade (38.3%), not to mention its largest margin behind Europe (43.4%) in that time period.
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U.S. lower-middle-market activity looks slow in several sectors, perhaps none more so than energy, which has seen five PE investments in the sub-$25 million range so far in 2014 compared to 24 last year. Healthcare and IT, though, are still tracking relatively closer to 2013 levels. Across the pond, nearly all the sectors in Europe are pacing to meet or beat last year’s totals, with only B2C and energy lagging. Around the world, some of the most active investors include France's FSI Régions (50 investments), Main Street Capital (43) and The Carlyle Group (42).
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