Our investment bankers publish timely updates on activity and trends in the advisory and financing markets. These publications provide statistical analysis and interpretation of activity in a variety of sectors.

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Specialty Materials March 2017

After a record-setting 2015, M&A activity and valuations in specialty materials decreased slightly in 2016. But dealmaking in the industry continued at a healthy pace as strategic buyers aggressively pursued companies with unique products and capabilities in attractive end-markets, such as the medical industry.

View March 2017 report

Specialty Finance March 2017

An appellate court’s ruling in PHH vs. CFPB and Republican electoral victories in November have put the future of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in doubt and set the stage for an uptick in dealmaking and capital-raising in consumer finance.

View March 2017 report

Merger Tracker | March 2017

After a record-breaking 2015, M&A activity slowed somewhat in 2016. Despite this modest pullback, the possibility of tax cuts, record amounts of capital held by private equity firms, and favorable debt markets suggest that dealmaking could increase in 2017.

View March 2017 report

Cloud Insights | February 2017

Strategic buyers and financial sponsors capitalized on the buying opportunity created by the early-2016 valuation reset by aggressively pursuing public targets in the second and third quarters. As valuations recovered, the IPO window reopened and acquirers shifted their focus back to private targets.

View February 2017 report

Food For Thought | February 2017

Increased focus on cost-cutting, takeover speculation, and a favorable environment for commodity prices and interest rates led to expanding P/E ratios for food and beverage companies in 2016. We examine how these trends could impact M&A activity in the industry in 2017.

View February 2017 report

Leveraged Finance | February 2017

The midmarket leveraged lending environment continued to be very favorable for issuers in the fourth quarter. More than 85% of respondents to William Blair’s Quarterly Leveraged Lender Survey said that they expect the current issuer-friendly pricing, leverage, and terms to continue in 2017.

View February 2017 report

Consolidation in Cloud Services Accelerates as Ecosystems Grow and Mature | February 2017

Strategic and financial acquirers have been aggressively pursuing service providers focused on salesforce.com, Workday, ServiceNow, Amazon Web Services, and other leading cloud-based platforms. We examine the trends driving activity and valuations in cloud services M&A.

View full timely industry commentary

ECM Quarterly | January 2017

Equity markets staged an impressive recovery from the early-2016 correction and finished the year near record highs. But 2016’s IPO market never recovered from the pullback in investor risk appetites; the 92 U.S.-listed IPOs was the lowest total since 2009. Low volatility and the strong performance of 2016’s IPO class, however, point to a rebound in IPO activity in 2017.

View January 2017 report

Strong Momentum in Specialty Distribution: 2016 Year in Review | January 2017

Across end-markets, specialty distributors’ compelling business models are generating impressive growth and strong interest from financial sponsors and strategic acquirers. In 2016 alone, William Blair completed 10 specialty distribution transactions across a range of end-markets.

View full timely industry commentary

Conversion to Specialty Materials Continues to Drive Strong M&A Interest, Most Recently in Kitchen & Bath Sectors | January 2017

As more homeowners upgrade to kitchen sinks, showers, bathtubs, and washbasins made of specialty materials, the acquisitions of Marmite and SCHOCK highlight the surging interest from strategic and financial buyers in leading manufacturers of high-growth, high-margin specialty building products.

View full timely industry commentary

PLMA Observations Thought Leadership | November 2016

On the heels of the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s annual trade show, we examine the industry’s strong financial outlook, driven by growth opportunities in the U.S. market and increasingly positive consumer sentiment toward private label products.

View full timely industry commentary

Healthcare IT Trends Shaping M&A and IPO Activity in 2016 | November 2016

As the healthcare IT industry continues to mature and grow in strategic importance, companies and shareholders are seeing increased opportunities to achieve attractive valuations through being acquired or accessing public equity markets.

View full timely industry commentary

European Technology | November 2016

While the Brexit referendum has created headwinds for deal-making, M&A activity involving European technology companies has continued at a fairly robust pace since the June 23 vote. We examine the impact of the Brexit referendum and other trends that are shaping M&A and capital-raising activity in European technology.

View November 2016 report

Commercial Services | October 2016

Against a backdrop of accelerating technological disruption, the commercial services industry is on pace for record-breaking M&A activity in 2016. We examine the trends that are shaping deal processes and buyer behavior in an increasingly competitive M&A landscape.

View October 2016 report

Automotive and Aftermarket | September 2016

After seven consecutive years of vehicle production growth, cyclical concerns are shaping acquisition strategies across the automotive industry. We examine these and other trends that are driving M&A activity involving original equipment suppliers and aftermarket companies.

View September 2016 report

Chemicals Report | September 2016

The proposed Dow-DuPont, ChemChina-Syngenta, and Bayer-Monsanto mergers should serve as a catalyst for continued robust M&A activity in the chemicals industry over the next several quarters. We examine these and other trends shaping M&A activity in chemicals.

View September 2016 report

IT Security | August 2016

As public equity markets have become less receptive and the bar to go public has gone up, IT security companies are actively pursuing alternative paths to liquidity. We examine how the exit environment in IT security has morphed in the past year.

View August 2016 report

Packaging Report | July 2016

In our annual report on the packaging industry, we examine how the ongoing shift from rigid to flexible packaging and the industry’s attractive financial characteristics are contributing to increased M&A activity, such as ProAmpac’s acquisitions of Ampac and cei in 2015. 

View July 2016 report

WasteExpo 2016: New Opportunities in an Evolving Industry | June 2016

As the waste and recycling industry continues to grow and evolve, participants at this year's WasteExpo conference in Las Vegas focused on how regulatory and market pressures are creating new opportunities across the industry.

View full timely industry commentary

Industrial Technology | June 2016

Industrial technology continues to be a growing focus for many investors. Recent global trends have increased the need for solutions that focus on automation, connectivity, and sensing.

View June 2016 report

Webinar Recap: M&A Insights From the Waste and Recycling Industry | June 2016

As M&A activity in the waste and recycling industry continues at a robust pace, Waste Advantage Magazine convened a panel of experts from across the industry to discuss the particulars of selling a business.

View full timely industry commentary

Education Technology M&A and Capital Raising Trends: Highlights From ASU GSV Summit | May 2016

In April, more than 3,700 educators, investors, executives, and entrepreneurs met to discuss how technology is reshaping the education landscape. We examine four major themes in education technology and discuss what they mean from an M&A and capital raising perspective.

View full timely industry commentary

Shifting Healthcare Landscape Drives Interest in IT Solutions for Post-Acute Care and Human Services | May 2016

Rising costs and a shift toward value-based reimbursement are increasing the importance of post-acute care (PAC) and health and human services (HHS) across the healthcare landscape. The recent Brightree and Netsmart acquisitions highlight the growing M&A interest in IT solutions focused on these end-markets.

View full timely industry commentary

Wolf-Gordon Acquisition Highlights Growing Interest in the Specialty Distribution and Building Technology Sectors | March 2016

Saw Mill Capital’s recent acquisition of Wolf-Gordon, a leading specialty distributor of wallcoverings for diverse commercial end-markets, was driven by the convergence of several trends that are shaping deal-making activity for specialty distribution and building technology companies.

View full timely industry commentary

Themes From Environmental Industry Summit 2016 | March 2016

At the 2016 Environmental Industry Summit, held March 9-11 in San Diego, executives and analysts from across the environmental services industry met to discuss the biggest trends affecting the industry’s growth and profitability.

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NPC Acquisition Driven by Surging Demand for Probiotics | March 2016

Increasing global protein consumption and pressure from regulators and consumers to limit the use of antibiotics in animal feed have combined to create massive growth opportunities for probiotics companies such as Nutrition Physiology Company.

View full timely industry commentary

IBS Highlights Growing Interest in Building Technologies | February 2016

At this year’s International Builders’ Show conference, private equity firms and strategic acquirers were taking notice as the housing market continues to strengthen and builders increase their use of more-advanced products and technologies.

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Recent Successful Sales of Plaskolite and Nudo Highlight Growing Attractiveness of Specialty Materials for Building Products Applications | January 2016

Amid an ongoing recovery in construction activity, companies offering products or materials in the building products sector are generating strong interest from strategic acquirers and financial investors.

View full timely industry commentary

Private Equity Spotlight: How Private Equity Views the Waste and Recycling Industry | January 2016

When exploring the sale of a company, business owners need to understand the motivations and investment philosophies of the various types of buyers.

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SEMA and AAPEX 2015 Highlights: What’s Driving Deal-Making in the Auto Aftermarket | December 2015

William Blair’s Todd Cassidy provides his annual review of the biggest trends at the SEMA and AAPEX conferences and what they mean for M&A and capital-raising in the automotive aftermarket.

View full timely industry commentary

Value Drivers and Valuation Trends in IT Solutions | December 2015

Ahead and Pomeroy acquisitions highlight increased interest in IT solutions providers and value-added resellers.

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European Biotech: What U.S. Equity Market Trends Mean for the Capital-Raising and Deal-Making Landscape | December 2015

At the BIO-Europe 2015 conference in Munich in November, the outlook for IPO and M&A activity generated a tremendous amount of discussion among business owners and investors across Europe’s biotech community. We examine the most important trends shaping capital-raising and deal-making opportunities for European biotech companies.

View full timely industry commentary

Corporate Venture Capital: A High Impact Player in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem | December 2015

Corporate venture capital (CVC) activity in the first three quarters of 2015 reached its highest level since the height of the Internet boom. We examine the growth of CVC and how it is shaping the capital-raising and deal-making landscape.

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Focus on the Process: Understanding the Steps of a Successful Sale | November 2015

With waste and recycling company owners facing increased opportunities to sell their businesses, we outline the steps involved in a successful transaction process.

View full timely industry commentary

Highlights from Money20/20 | November 2015

On the heels of the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas, we provide an overview of the trends that were generating the most buzz at the conference and discuss how they are shaping the M&A and capital-raising environment in financial technology.

View full timely industry commentary

Ophthalmology Futures Forum: M&A and IPO Trends in Eye Care | October 2015

At the September 3 conference in Barcelona, William Blair’s Brian Scullion discussed recent transactions, trends shaping the deal-making landscape, and drivers of venture capital investors’ surging interest in ophthalmology companies.

View full timely industry commentary

Environmental Services M&A: Selling Your Business is a Team Sport | October 2015

Building a team of trusted advisors is an essential first step in a successful sale process. In an article for the October 2015 issue of Waste Advantage Magazine, Brad Page, William Blair’s head of environmental services investment banking, looks at the role of different advisors and how each is involved in helping with an ownership transition in the solid waste industry.

View full timely industry commentary

OneSource Virtual and Fruition Partners: What’s Driving Value in Cloud Services | September 2015

Two recent William Blair transactions in cloud services highlight the business models and service offerings that are generating strong interest from strategic and financial acquirers.

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The Power of Outsourced Health Information Management | September 2015

Outsourcing health information management (HIM) has emerged as a compelling solution to the immense challenges that hospitals face related to decreased reimbursement rates and other aspects of healthcare reform.

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Environmental Services: How M&A Valuations Are Determined | September 2015

As business owners prepare to sell a company, the most important question they will ask is, "What is my company worth?" William Blair's Brad Page, head of environmental services investment banking, explains in an article for Waste Advantage Magazine how this question is answered in the waste and recycling industry.

View full timely industry commentary

$125 Million Financing Positions Zeta Interactive for Continued Growth in the Data-driven Marketing Sector | August 2015

William Blair conducts a well-designed process that delivers enhanced financial optionality for leading customer life cycle marketing platform.

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Financial Technology Sector Update | July 2015

Financial Technology Sector Update includes an overview and analysis of key market trends and observations, current public market valuations, M&A activity, capital-raising activity, recent debt issuances, and relevant private-equity activity in the financial technology sector.

View July 2015 report

Medical Device IPO Trends: Why $20 Million in Revenue is the New $50 Million | July 2015

Performance of recent medical device offerings provides resounding evidence that investors’ threshold for commercial validation has decreased significantly.

View full timely industry commentary

Investment Services Industry Insights | June 2015

Investment Services Industry Insights covers trends in M&A activity, transaction multiples, and public company valuations for both the asset management and broker-dealer sectors.

View June 2015 report

Deal Engine: Trends Driving the Auto Supply and Aftermarket Landscape | June 2015

William Blair’s annual Deal Engine explores the blurring lines between the traditional OE supply sector and the aftermarket and examines the trends that shaped the deal-making landscape in 2014 and the ways they will drive M&A activity and valuations in the future.

View full timely industry commentary

William Blair Advises FirstService on Creation of Two Independent Public Companies Through Spin-off | June 2015

Market reacts very positively to announcement; market capitalization up over 20%.

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Packaging Investment Banking Sector Report | May 2015

Packaging Investment Banking Sector Report analyzes industry trends, consolidation drivers, companies’ M&A transaction activity, and valuations in the plastics and packaging sector.

View May 2015 report

Supply Chain Services Sector Update | May 2015

Supply Chain Services Sector report explores the trends that are shaping the marketplace, and how these trends drive M&A activity and valuations.

View May 2015 report

Niche Focus and Multi-Channel Models Drive Outstanding Outcomes for Excelligence and Flinn Scientific | February 2015

Excelligence and Flinn Scientific acquisitions highlight trends that are shaping the dealmaking landscape for distributors and direct marketers in the education sector.

View full timely industry commentary

Highlights From SEMA and AAPEX: What's Driving the Auto Aftermarket Deal-Making Environment? | February 2015

William Blair & Company's Todd Cassidy discusses some of the hottest trends at this year's SEMA and AAPEX conferences and what they mean for potential transactions.

View full timely industry commentary

What CareTech Solutions Reveals About the Increasingly Competitive M&A Landscape | February 2015

As competition for healthcare assets intensifies, strategic acquirers are going to great lengths to stay in the game for companies like CareTech Solutions.

View full timely industry commentary

Internet and Digital Media | January 2015

Internet & Digital Media Insights is an overview of the global Internet and digital media sector. The report analyzes industry news and trends, public and private financing activity, consolidation drivers, and announced M&A and public market valuations.

 View January 2014 report

Energy Services & Equipment Sector Report | September 2014

William Blair's Energy Services & Equipment Report analyzes industry trends, M&A transaction activity, and valuations in the energy services & equipment sector.

View Fall 2014 report

Global Apparel and Lifestyle Accessories Report | September 2014

Global Apparel and Lifestyle Accessories Report  details sector trends and insights, as well as M&A activity and valuation data compiled through August 2014. Public comparable companies are divided into seven major groups: Global Leaders, Modern Lifestyle, Performance Apparel, Traditional Apparel and Accessories, Youth/Teen, and eCommerce.

View September 2014 report