Third Annual Survey Finds Record Levels of Interest in M&A from Leaders of Privately Held Companies

Ninety Five Percent of Business Leaders are Interested in M&A and are Optimistic on the Prospects for Their Businesses
October 9, 2017

Harris Williams & Co., a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide for more than 25 years, releases proprietary M&A research conducted as part of an exclusive partnership with Inc., the only major media brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies. This is the third year Harris Williams & Co. and Inc. have partnered to conduct research among business leaders. The study, fielded by Inc. and Harris Williams & Co., surveyed more than 400 CEOs and senior business leaders of privately held, high growth companies, including those that have been recognized on the Inc. 5000 lists.

The research provides insight 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. The results show that 95 percent of survey respondents are interested in M&A over the next three years, a three-year upward trajectory in comparison to 81 percent in 2015. A 65 percent majority said they were interested in acquiring other companies, up significantly from 38 percent in 2015. In addition, 52 percent said they would consider selling and 36 percent would consider a merger.

The study was conducted following the first 100 days of the Donald Trump presidency. Half of the respondents said the Trump administration will have a positive impact on their businesses, while 18 percent believed it will be negative and 20 percent expressed uncertainty. Amid the spectrum of opinions, there was consistency in the issues that they believe need to be addressed; 71 percent of respondents identified tax reform as the top issue in relation to their businesses. Despite varied political viewpoints, 76 percent of business leaders identified themselves as either optimistic or very optimistic about the prospects for their businesses this year. Further, 83 percent said they are performing either at or above budget with 39 percent 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,” said 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.”

Please click here to review the full white paper analyzing the research results, which is published on Harris Williams & Co.’s website.

Harris Williams & Co. (, a subsidiary of the PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:PNC), is a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide.  The firm has deep industry knowledge, global transaction expertise, and an unwavering commitment to excellence.  Harris Williams & Co. provides sell-side and acquisition advisory, restructuring advisory, board advisory, private placements, and capital markets advisory services.

Investment banking services are provided by Harris Williams LLC, a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC, and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd, which is a private limited company incorporated under English law with its registered office at 5th Floor, 6 St. Andrew Street, London EC4A 3AE, UK, registered with the Registrar of Companies for England and Wales (registration number 7078852). Harris Williams & Co. Ltd is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Harris Williams & Co. is a trade name under which Harris Williams LLC and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd conduct business.