Livingstone’s Quarterly Market and Transaction Report

The deal market holds strong

Strengthening US economy driving M&A activity at home and abroad

As expected, the trends we saw in 2014—strong corporate growth, healthy balance sheets, historically low interest rates (with little sign of significant increase over the short-term), and a strong financing market, have continued to fuel the deal market over the first half of 2015. All signals point to an aggressive year for buyers and sellers.

Earlier this week, Livingstone announced its continuing role role in a marquee cross-border transaction between Chicago-based Accenture and London-based Javelin Group. The increased strength of the dollar is driving increased deal activity overseas from US acquirers, even as export growth slows. Many of our clients are focused on cross-border deal activity to take advantage of this opportunistic currency environment.

There is no shortage of capital for those who want it. A strong market for sellers will continue, particularly in the $25M–$250M range. We believe a robust deal market will continue through the year. If you're sitting on a growth platform, now is a good time to consider exit alternatives.

David Sulaski
Managing Partner, Chicago


Deals (Q1)


Deals (TTM)


Cross Border Transactions (TTM)

Special Situations

Special situations are largely sector-specific in today’s strong M&A and debt markets.

While there are pockets of opportunities within steel/scrap, energy, for-profit education and retail, the broader distressed environment is relatively calm.

Deals that historically would have qualified as “quality” distressed M&A opportunities (good company—bad balance sheet) remain few and far between as non-traditional lenders and alternative sources of debt capital continue to prop-up and support otherwise flawed businesses. This—coupled with the activity we have seen first-hand in our M&A practice (both closings at outlier valuations and record pitch activity in Q1 2015), reinforces our conviction that a market correction is coming, albeit likely not within the next 12–18 months.

Joseph Greenwood
Special Situations
Partner, Chicago


Loan volume is declining, but debt capital remains abundant.

Loan volume thus far in 2015 has been down year over year, driven largely by slower M&A and financing activities, along with longer processes. With less activity and lingering uncertainty around OCC Leveraged Lending Guidelines, lenders are cautious in their due diligence, which stretches out closing timelines.

However, debt capital continues to be readily available. We are seeing new lenders and funds entering the market in droves. With muted deal volume in Q1, lenders across all classes are aggressively competing on deals that hit the market. This competition continues the trend over the past few years where the borrowers are dictating pricing and terms.

Continue to stay updated on the latest trends and analysis in debt capital markets through ongoing posts to Tom’s Two Cents.

Tom Lesch
Debt Capital Markets
Director, Chicago


Javelin Group transaction highlights Livingstone’s strength in cross-border transactions

Earlier this week it was announced that Livingstone advised Javelin Group, a London-based provider of retail strategy consulting and digital transformation services, on its acquisition to Chicago-based Accenture. Led by Livingstone’s Media & Technology team, the acquisition will expand the capabilities of Accenture Strategy to help the world’s leading retailers and consumer brands accelerate their digital transformation.

Read more here

leading provider of retail strategy consultancy services has been sold to


Three HVAC deals in the last 18 months

In April, we announced the sale of Munch’s Supply Co, Inc. (Munch’s) to Rotunda Capital Partners, a middle-market private equity firm based in Washington D.C. and Chicago. Munch’s, a third-generation family business, distributes heating and cooling supplies for trusted brands such as American Standard and Trane. Munch’s is the third transaction Livingstone closed in the HVAC space in the last 18 months.

Read more here

independent wholesale distributor of HVAC products has been sold to

scientific instrumentation accessories business owned by

has been sold to

leading European producer of water based wood coatings for the furniture industry, has been sold to

leading non-destructive testing and inspection service owned by

has received acquisition financing from


has received financing for acquisition of InTouch Automation, Inc. by

has acquired market leader in Las Vegas

architectural signage manufacturer has been sold to


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