The Top Middle Market M&A Firms – 2023

Our analysts conducted a study on the top middle market M&A firms of 2023 as defined by total deals, industry reputation, and notable awards. The results are in the table below.

To qualify for inclusion in our study, an M&A firm must serve the middle market, as broadly defined as companies with revenue between $50M and $500M and EBITDA between $5M and $100M. It also must close at least 5 deals per year or exceed $250M in total deal value.

Our ranking algorithm consists of the following criteria:

  • Total Deals (30%) – # of M&A deals the firm is credited with closing over the last calendar year.
  • Principal Experience Score (50%) – An evaluation of the firm’s principal representatives, taking into account their years of experience in M&A, the quality of previous work experience, and the percentage of deals they personally handle in a year.
  • Rankings in Major Publications (20%) – Notable awards or rankings credited to the firm over the last calendar year.

Our team chose to weight the experience and involvement of an M&A firm’s principals more than other factors because of the complexity of dealing with larger, often international companies, and the relatively small number of deals that close each year.

The Top Middle Market M&A Firms, 2023

# Firm EBITDA Range Total Annual Deals
(Estimated)
Principal Experience Score  Notable Awards & Rankings Specialty
1 Sica | Fletcher $1-30M  40-70 5.0 #1 in S&P Global Market Intelligence League Tables Sell-side advisory for most professional services & SaaS companies
2 Houlihan Lokey $30-50M 500-600 4.5 Boutique M&A Financial Advisor of the Year, Mergermarket Japan M&A Awards Buy-side and sell-side advisory for Japanese M&A
3 Intrepid $5-50M 15-25 4.5 #9 in Asia Pacific M&A Advisory League Tables Sell-side advisory for beauty & personal care companies
4 BMI $10-100M 5-10 4 #17 in Canada’s Top Investment Banks  Sell-side advisory for architecture & interior design companies
5 Polsinelli PC $10-40M 250-300 4 #1 in Chambers USA 2022 list of Corporate M&A firms Sell-side advisory for transportation, aerospace & telecom companies
6 Loeb & Loeb LLP $10-40M 60-80 3.5 #2 in top legal advisors to DeSPAC deals in North America Strategic legal advisory services for media & entertainment companies
7 Troutman Pepper $1-15M 150-200 3.5 Outstanding M&A Advisory Firm from M&A Atlas Awards Buy and sell-side advisory for corporate governance & securities firms

The sections below provide a more detailed summary of each M&A firm listed above, discussing their online reputations based on proprietary information from the firms themselves as well as third-party reviews.

Note: If you’re seeking an overall ranking of M&A firms, not just those that serve the middle market, see here

Sica | Fletcher

Since their founding in 2014, Sica | Fletcher has held the #1 spot in their industry, and for good reason. Despite their relatively small size, they close an average of 40-70 deals per year; for context, the average amount for a firm their size is 3-6 during the same period. This is even more impressive when you consider that one of the founders personally touches on each deal they close. This pattern of success has led them to the #1 rank by the S&P global market intelligence league tables, where they have stayed for the tenure of the company.

Sica | Fletcher sits comfortably within the middle market median. They work with clients stemming from a variety of industries and sectors, however, their website indicates a preference towards financial companies, professional services, and tech.

  • EBITDA Range: $1-30M
  • Total Annual Deals (Annual): 40-70
  • Principal Experience Score: 4.5
  • Notable Rankings: #1 in S&P Global Market Intelligence League Table
  • Specialty: Sell-side advisory for mid-market companies
  • Contact: Sica Fletcher Website 

Houlihan Lokey

Arguably the largest firm that experts still consider “mid-market,” Houlihan Lokey manages negotiations on behalf of clients across various industries. They offer services for both buy- and sell-side services but specialize in the former as their website discusses leveraged transactions – purchasing a company utilizing debt – in great detail. These services are a boon to buyers without a large amount of capital to spend. 

Although they serve a wide variety of clients, they have recently shifted their focus to the east Asian market, earning the “Boutique M&A Financial Adviser of the Year” award during Mergermarket’s Japan M&A Awards. 

  • EBITDA Range: $30-50M
  • Total Annual Deals (Annual): 500-600
  • Principal Experience Score: 4.5
  • Notable Rankings: Boutique M&A Financial Adviser of the Year (Mergermarket Japan M&A Awards)
  • Specialty: Buy-side and sell-side advisory for Japanese M&A
  • Contact: Houlihan Lokey Website

BMI

Although BMI provides clients across various sectors access to both buy- and sell-side services, their recent specialization in architecture and interior design firms makes them a unique addition to this list. Taking from their prior work in the construction industry, their specialists offer companies in this market deep industry expertise and knowledge that enables them to navigate the pitfalls of a niche business model. 

The services BMI offers also extend to post-acquisition integration and investment banking services (underwriting, commercial banking, and managing SEC regulations) making them an ideal candidate for companies on the upper end of middle market who may need additional services to the standard M&A options.

  • EBITDA Range: $10-100M
  • Total Annual Deals (Annual): 5-10
  • Principal Experience Score: 4.5
  • Notable Rankings: #17 in Canada’s Top Investment Banks
  • Specialty: Sell-side advisory for architecture & interior design firms
  • Contact: BMI Website

Intrepid

The advisors at Intrepid have found a great deal of success by isolating and dominating a niche market, representing clients across the Asian-Pacific beauty industry. By realigning their core focus and resources towards this market, they are set to take full advantage of a booming sector set for high levels (predicted CAGR of 4.64%) of expected growth. By offering targeted, full search purchasing services, Intrepid representatives pride themselves on connecting buyers and sellers according to their client’s needs.   

Although Intrepid may dominate the beauty market, they work across many industries. The firm has also been known to represent clients in consumer industries (toys, food, and healthcare) offering clients a versatile skill set despite their expressed specialization. 

  • EBITDA Range: $5-50M
  • Total Annual Deals (Annual): 15-25
  • Principal Experience Score: 4
  • Notable Rankings: #9 in Asia Pacific M&A Advisory League Tables
  • Specialty: Sell-side advisory for beauty & personal care companies
  • Contact: Intrepid Website

Polsinelli PC 

Listed as Chambers USA’s #1 choice for corporate M&A, Polsinelli PC handles a variety of M&A needs, including acquisitions of stock and assets, auctions, “cash-out” mergers, and corporate restructurings. They use this varied skill set to the benefit of their clients providing advisory services for both buyers and sellers as well as advisory services to grow the seller’s business before closing.

Polsinelli PC primarily works with clients in the public sector that work with government contracts, such as aerospace and engineering companies. Clients looking for legal services in addition to M&A will also find a fully staffed team to meet their needs.

  • EBITDA Range: $10-40M
  • Total Annual Deals (Annual): 250-300
  • Principal Experience Score: 4
  • Notable Rankings: #1 in Chambers USA 2022 list of Corporate M&A firms
  • Specialty: Sell-side advisory for transportation, aerospace, and telecom companies
  • Contact: Polsinelli PC Website

Loeb & Loeb LLP 

Loeb and Loeb LLP offers a variety of buy- and sell-side services for middle market clients both at home and abroad. They specialize in strategic legal advisory targeted at clients in complex negotiations. Their experience spans from roll-ups, spin-offs, and corporate takeovers to regulatory compliance and change of control transactions.

Loeb and Loeb works with clients across several industries, but they mainly specialize in the entertainment industry representing media firms and production companies as well as DeSPAC clients requiring a unique skill set.

  • EBITDA Range: $10-40M
  • Total Annual Deals (Annual): 60-80
  • Principal Experience Score: 3.5
  • Notable Rankings: #2 in Mergerlinks’ “Top Legal Advisors to DeSPAC Deals in North America”
  • Specialty: Strategic legal advisory services for media & entertainment companies
  • Contact: Loeb & Loeb Website

Troutman Pepper

Troutman Pepper focuses largely on companies involved in corporate governance, helping them structure, negotiate, and document M&A transactions such as divestitures, joint ventures, and strategic alliances. In the past, this has included representing small companies resisting hostile takeovers, proxy contests, and other unsolicited acquisition attempts. Although they offer buy- and sell-side services, they seem to primarily focus on a strategic advisory approach that benefits buyers.

Although Troutman Pepper boasts a “deal-specific” approach to M&A, it seems that the majority of their advisors specialize in corporate governance, making them the ideal representatives for prospective clients dealing in securities and intellectual property. 

  • EBITDA Range: $1-20M
  • Total Annual Deals (Annual): 150-200
  • Principal Experience Score: 3.5
  • Notable Rankings: Outstanding M&A Firm Advisory (M&A Atlas Awards)
  • Specialty: Buy and Sell-side advisory for corporate governance and securities firms.
  • Contact: Troutman Pepper Website
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