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Survey reveals record levels of M&A interest from leaders of privately held companies

Research has been conducted into middle market companies across a wide range of industries about near-term plans for M&A, and perceptions of the prospects for their businesses under the Trump administration.

Results show that ninety five per cent of CEOs and senior business leaders of privately held, high growth companies are interested in M&A over the next three years, according to a new survey conducted by Harris & Co and Inc.  
This compares with 81 per cent who were considering M&A when the survey was last undertaken back in 2015.
A 65 per cent majority also said they were interested in acquiring other companies, up significantly from 38 per cent in 2015, while 52 per cent said they would consider selling and 36 per cent would consider a merger.
The study, which was conducted following the first 100 days of the Donald Trump presidency, canvassed the views of more than 400 CEOs and senior business leaders, Half of the respondents said the Trump administration will have a positive impact on their businesses, while 18 per cent believed it will be negative and 20 per cent expressed uncertainty. Amid the spectrum of opinions, there was consistency in the issues that they believe need to be addressed; 71 per cent of respondents identified tax reform as the top issue in relation to their businesses. Despite varied political viewpoints, 76 per cent of business leaders identified themselves as either optimistic or very optimistic about the prospects for their businesses this year. Further, 83 per cent said they are performing either at or above budget with 39 per cent saying they have exceeded their revenue targets.
“Business leaders are optimistic about their companies and are exploring near-term M&A opportunities. Strong market fundamentals paired with the high levels of business optimism suggest continued strength in the M&A environment,” says Mike Wilkins, a managing director at Harris Williams & Co. “Our relationships with privately held, fast growing companies allow us to stay ahead of trends and be a valuable thought partner to business leaders and management teams throughout their business’ life cycle.”

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