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Despite volatile stock markets, rising interest rates, inflation and geo-political uncertainty that restrained M&A in 2022, indictors point to a strong deal environment for 2023 — and the pivot to the lower middle market will continue to tee up opportunities for several key sectors with strong buyer interest. Further, after a year of price adjustments, a large majority of investors believe valuations in 2023 will remain stable or even track higher than 2022.

Deal Activity Summary

Top-of-funnel deal activity grew in 2022 by 32.2% YOY, according to Axial, which has named Auctus Capital Partner among the 2022 Top Investment Banks.

The private deal network serves professionals who own, advise, and invest in North American lower middle market companies, including more than 3,500 advisory firms and 2,000 corporate and financial buyers.

Placing Auctus Capital Partners in the Top 6, the 2022 rankings are based on Axial’s League Table that use surface data on investment banks to reveal their selectivity, relative attractiveness of their client’s businesses, and their overall sell-side process efficacy. Four factors disproportionately drive league table ranking:

  1. Client quality (based on pursuits per deal)
  2. Buyside targeting (pursuit rate per deal)
  3. Process effectiveness (ability to progress buyers from initial pursuit to NDA to CIM)
  4. Deal outcome (down-funnel IOI, LOI, and closure activity)

For detailed methodology, see the end of this feature.


Top 25 Lower Middle Market Investment Banks of 2022

Axial |  January 2023

Axial is excited to release our 2022 Lower Middle Market Investment Banking League Tables.  These league tables are assembled based on the 2022 dealmaking activities of 768 sell-side investment banks and M&A advisors who used Axial’s deal marketing platform to collectively bring 9,978 deals to market in the calendar 2022 year.

League Table Methodology

Unlike traditional league table structures that have remained the same for years, where firms are assessed against deal activity and deal dollar volume, Axial league tables surface data on investment banks that reveal their client quality, ability to manage a sell-side process, and down funnel effectiveness for their client.

The investment banks at the top of the Axial League Table are leaders across the following categories:

  • Client Quality: Buyside demand for engagements represented by the advisor.
  • Buyside Targeting: The advisor’s ability to balance selectivity, accuracy, and breadth when identifying potential buyers.
  • Process Effectiveness: The advisor’s ability to generate positive outcomes for their client.
  • Overall Deal Relevance: How many buyside mandates (financial and strategic) align with the advisor’s engagements.
  • Signed NDAs: How many buyers indicated interest in each of the advisor’s engagements, measured by the number of signed NDAs.
  • Shared CIMs: How many buyers received confidential information post NDA, measured by the number of CIMs shared.
  • IOIs Received: How many IOIs did the advisor receive from Axial Buyers.
  • LOIs Received: How many LOIs did the advisor receive from Axial Buyers.
  • Executed LOIs: How many deals the advisor successfully managed to take under LOI either with an Axial buyer or that were marked under LOI on the Axial platform.
  • Closed Deals: How many deals has the advisor closed where they involved an Axial buyer or that were marked as closed on the Axial platform.
  • Buyer Referrals: Feedback we received from buyers regarding the manner in which the advisor manages their processes.

Together, the top 25 investment banks are those who work with the most in-demand clients; balance breadth, selectivity, and accuracy in the buyers they engage; and generate the largest number of positive outcomes for their clients.