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Top 20 Lower Middle Market Investment Banks [Q1 2020]


We are excited to release Axial’s Q1 2020 Lower Middle Market League Tables.

Axial league tables take into account three main characteristics: client quality, buy-side targeting, and process effectiveness (for detailed methodology, see the end of this feature).

For CEOs and dealmakers in the lower middle market, these league tables are a useful barometer to measure how an investment bank ranks against its peers, and how effective they are in financing and selling lower middle market businesses in various sectors.


All 20 investment banks featured below are new additions to Axial’s IB League Tables since last quarter. 

791 investment banks brought deals to market using Axial in Q1. 

Here are the top 20.


Top 20 Investment Banks


Rank Firm HQ Score
1 Clayton Capital Partners MO .99
2 JD Merit & Company WA .99
3 EBB Group TX .98
4 ICCG Capital TX .98
5 Vertess AZ .98
6 Scott-Macon, Ltd. NY .97
7 Business Acquisition and Merger Associates NC .97
8 Shoreline Partners CA .97
9 Microtech Ventures, Inc. MI .97
10 Axis Global Advisory PR .96
11 Boulevard & Co. MI .96
12 MidCap Advisors NY .96
13 SF&P Advisors FL .96
14 Baker Group M&A Consultants KS .96
15 Large Practice Sales TX .96
16 Concord Ventures WA .95
17 Mirus Capital Advisors, Inc. MA .95
18 Madison Global Partners NY .95
19 Frontier Investment Banking Corp. KS .95
 20 XLCS Partners IL .95


Honorable Mentions

Client Quality

Firm HQ
Windstream Partners, LLC AZ
Aberdeen Advisors, Inc. FL
Crux Rubicon, Inc. MN
Affinity Ventures, Inc. NM
Firepower Capital ON


Buyer Targeting

Firm HQ
Three Sixty Seven Advisors FL
Flatirons Capital Advisors CO
BCMS Corporate NY
Parcrest Advisors NY
Butcher Joseph & Co. MO


Process Effectiveness

Firm HQ
Woodbridge International CT
Exit Partners, LLC TX
Anderson LeNeave & Co NC
Berkery Noyes Investment Bankers NY
CCC Investment Banking ON

Industry Specialists 

Firm HQ
Mertz Taggart GA
American Healthcare Capital CA
Sunfield Advisors NC
Lawrence, Evans & Co. LLC OH
Palmares Advisors CA


About the Top 20



“Independent of Clayton Capital Partners, our firm’s professionals have owned and operated more than 30 companies. Selling a business requires a specialist, not a general practitioner. At CCP, our sole focus is on successfully closing M&A transactions for our clients. We have no conflict of interest from corporate initiatives to sell multiple products and services to every client. We don’t sell you what you don’t need. Our clients are located from coast to coast and our specialists have closed more than 200 M&A transactions.”  Visit Clayton Capital Partners’ Profile


Industries: Aerospace, HVAC, Transportation, Software & Technology, Manufacturing, Business Services


“JD Merit is a leading boutique investment bank focused on middle market companies between $10MM – $200MM in revenues. As a full-service Broker / Dealer, licensed in all 50 states, JD Merit executes sell-side M&A, buy-side M&A, and capital advisory services. In addition, JD Merit offers other Investment banking services such as debt and equity capital raises, corporate finance and valuation, and real estate & project finance.” Visit JD Merit’s Profile


Industries: Banking & Financial Services, Business Services, Construction / Trades, Building Supply, Consumer & Retail, Energy & Applied Technology, Oil & Gas / Mining, Food & Agribusiness, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals & BioTech, Industrials, Manufacturing & Distribution, Real Estate, Gaming & Lodging, TMT, Transportation & Logistics


“EBB Group is a boutique investment banking firm that provides select financial advisory services exclusively to middle-market companies with enterprise values from $10-200 million. With our transactional expertise, capital markets experience, industry sector background, and valuation knowledge, EBB Group assists middle-market executives, directors and investors in assessing various strategic alternatives, which may include mergers/acquisitions, divestitures and capital enhancement transactions (e.g., securities offerings). Because of our selectivity in choosing engagements, we have an excellent track record of completing strategic transactions. Since its beginning in 1995, The Firm has grown from its headquarters in Dallas, Texas, and offices in Los Angeles, Houston, Denver, St Louis and Mexico City, but provides service to companies across the continental United States. We have a team of 32 professionals with tremendous industry experience.” Visit EBB Group’s Profile


Industries: Consumer Goods, Industrials, Materials, Business Services, Health Care, Manufacturing, Financial Services


“Integrated Corporate Consulting Group, Inc. (ICCG) provides intermediary services for an individual purchasing or selling a business, whether it’s the transaction to an owner’s child, employee, or a general buyer. We know for a business owner the decision to sell a business is typically an emotional, life changing decision that is not to be taken lightly. Cash flow concerns, compliance issues, tax strategies, personal and financial liabilities, and responsibility for loyal and long term employees are all common concerns. ICCG assumes the role of “intermediary” between buyer and seller, so that you are holistically served. Once you sit down at ICCG’s table, you will see for yourself the difference in our experience and sense the comfortable confidence you deserve.” Visit ICCG’s Profile


Industries: Aerospace & Defense, Health Care


“Vertess was formed by a visionary group of results-oriented professionals as an alternative to traditional M+A firms and investment banks. We focus primarily on your personal and professional goals and help facilitate transactions that make sense to you for the long term. We guarantee integrity, confidentiality and a commitment to the best outcome for you, your company and your family. Whether a start-up, a turnaround, the sale of your business or acquisition of another, we will provide outstanding, personal service.” Visit Vertess’ Profile


Industries: Health Care, Life Sciences


“Scott-Macon, Ltd. is one of the oldest independent investment banks in the United States with an emphasis on the middle market. The firm is comprised of senior professionals who have extensive transaction experience with a broad range of companies and transaction sizes in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financing, valuations and fairness opinions and general corporate financial consulting.” Visit Scott-Macon’s Profile


Industries: Industrials, Consumer Goods, Manufacturing, Health Care, Business Services, Materials, Consumer Services, Technology, Media


“Business Acquisition and Merger Associates is a results-oriented, middle market intermediary firm located in Charlotte, NC. Founded on the principle of adding value and professional skill to business transfers, BAMA helps clients acquire or sell companies. Our “buyer” clients are both financial and strategic buyers, management teams, private equity groups and mezz lenders who are looking to invest in good companies. “Seller” clients include business owners who desire recapitalizations for founder-family business transfer, growth capital, corporate divestitures and those seeking business transfer due to retirement, health, family or personal reasons. Three key principles drive BAMA’s work. They can be summed up in one sentence. Execute a confidential process with people we enjoy who value and desire the unique skill set and services offered by BAMA. If our business philosophy aligns with yours, then let’s talk about working together.” Visit Business Acquisition & Merger Associates Profile


Industries: Distribution, Industrials, Health Care, Business Services, Consumer Goods, Consumer Services, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Technology


“Shoreline’s team of experienced M&A advisors successfully markets, negotiates, and closes sale, acquisition and financing transactions for the owners of privately held companies. Since 1992, the firm’s licensed professionals have closed transactions across a wide variety of industries. Shoreline uses its decades of business experience to understand its clients’ objectives and achieve optimal results.” Visit Shoreline Partners’ Profile


Industries: Business Services, Industrials, Construction, Agriculture, Consumer


“Microtech Ventures is focused on strategic venture capital, angel investing, and M&A advisory services. Our mission is to accelerate the development of MEMS, sensors, and microtechnologies for the advancement of human civilization and the improvement of quality of life. Our deep industry knowledge and extensive network, combined with practical hands-on strategy experience, enables us to quickly identify the connections that result in multiple opportunities to maximize ownership value, and ensure successful outcomes.” Visit Mictrotech Ventures’ Profile


Industries: Software & Technology


“Axis Global Advisory is a merchant banking and advisory firm that helps investors connect with great investments. Axis represents select special situations and private investment opportunities to some of the largest and most sophisticated global investors who are looking for investment ideas that will deliver high returns. The firm focuses on mandates from $20mm to $500mm in size where it can model 20% + annual returns” Visit Axis Global Advisory’s Profile


Industries: Food & Beverage, Industrials, Pharmaceuticals, Business Services


“Boulevard is a boutique, investment banking and private investment firm focused on working with owners, operators, and businesses active in the middle market. In partnering with Boulevard, our clients and portfolio investments gain access to capital, opportunities, networks and transactional resources that have historically been reserved for large companies. Our professional experiences as entrepreneurs, operators, investors and deal professionals enable us to rapidly understand the goals of owners, operators and businesses as well as develop effective strategic plans and efficiently utilize transactional tactics to achieve those goals. At Boulevard, we believe value creation begins with developing a strong multi-faceted strategy that addresses the goals of all stakeholders in the company including employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers and the community. We then employ tactical services to achieve those strategic goals. Our tactical services include transaction advisory for buyers and sellers as well financing and recapitalization.” Visit Boulevard & Co’s Profile


Industries: Manufacturing, Distribution, Industrials, Health Care, Business Services, Media, Retail, Consumer Services, Energy & Utilities, Materials, Technology, Life Sciences, Consumer Goods, Real Estate, Financial Services


“MidCap Advisors, a middle market investment bank headquartered in New York, with offices in Chicago and Boston, specializes in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, capital raises, ownership transition planning, business valuations and negotiation support services for companies generating $5 million to $250 million in revenues. A business owner’s definition of success is multi-faceted. For some, it is selling a business for maximum value. For others, it is effecting a smooth ownership transition to key employees or family members. And for others, the question has not been fully answered yet. That’s why our experienced and knowledgeable advisors created and adopted a 360 degree approach to help business owners identify and accomplish all of their goals. MidCap Advisors also represents corporations, private equity firms and investors who are seeking to grow through acquisition. We can help formulate acquisition strategies, identify prospective acquisition targets, initiate contact, assist in negotiating terms of an acquisition, and help obtain acquisition financing when necessary.” Visit MidCap Advisors’ Profile


Industries: Consumer Goods, Industrials, Technology, Retail, Business Services, Financial Services, Materials, Consumer Services, Media, Telecommunications, Energy & Utilities


“We have served as a trusted partner to businesses in the HVAC, Plumbing and Mechanical contractors, providing a range of services including valuation, accounting, research and financial analysis. Our goal is to serve not simply as a business brokerage, but as a success strategy firm, driving superior outcomes for our clients. We achieve this in particular by leveraging the strong relationships we have forged over in our niche industry focus. We’re equally comfortable representing sellers and buyers – our only objective is to help you accomplish your goals efficiently and professionally. And since our fees are based on the work we do for you – not on some large overhead or personnel department that we have to support – you’ll find a relationship with us particularly rewarding, indeed.” Visit SF&P Advisors’ Profile


Industries: HVAC, Plumbing, Mechanical Contractors, Consumer Services, Industrials


“Baker Group M&A Consultants, Inc. is different in numerous ways. Jerry Baker, the President of the Baker Group has over 50 years experience as an entrepreneur, who started and developed many companies over his career. He can relate to a business of any size. His knowledge acquired over the years is extremely helpful in developing a relationship with clients. Since 1988, Jerry Baker’s companies have consulted with and successfully concluded over 200 transactions in numerous industries. Jerry’s experience in starting companies, building companies, taking companies public, selling companies, dealing with national accounting firms and major law firms in numerous negotiations and leading and mentoring employees to successful careers is priceless when it comes to selecting a deal maker. Baker Group M&A Consultants can discuss with clients different types of transactions and structures to consider.” Visit Baker Group M&A’s Profile


Industries: Health Care


“Large Practice Sales (LPS) is an M&A Advisory firm, focused exclusively on representing dental practices in M&A transactions. The firm was founded by a former dental executive and an investment banker, who joined forces to provide investment banking services to the very underserved dental practitioner community. LPS’s unique combination of deep industry and transactional expertise puts them in a unique position to guide dental professionals looking to monetize their life’s work” Visit Large Practice Sales’ Profile


Industries: Dentistry


“Concord Ventures is a boutique investment banking firm representing business sellers in the $3,000,000-$500,000,000 value range in manufacturing, service, distribution, retail, and technology. We are headquartered near Seattle, in Bellevue, WA. Concord Ventures also provides financing services for acquisitions and recapitalizations and offers business valuation services.” Visit Concord Ventures’ Profile


Industries: Industrials, Technology, Business Services, Materials, Energy & Utilities, Consumer Goods, Health Care, Consumer Services, Distribution, Manufacturing


“Founded in 1987, Mirus is a leading New England based firm focused on providing exceptional investment banking services to our middle-market clients. We have completed over 200 M&A and equity transactions in our history and our senior team represents decades of deal experience in the technology, consumer products, industrial products and services, business services, and heathcare industries. Mirus Capital Advisors is the parent company of Mirus Securities, Inc. Mirus Securities, Inc. is a member of FINRA / SIPC.” Visit Mirus Capital Advisors’ Profile


Industries: Consumer Goods, Industrials, Retail, Technology, Business Services, Health Care, Consumer Services, Media, Life Sciences, Materials, Financial Services, Energy & Utilities, Telecommunications


“At Madison Global Partners, we believe financial expertise coupled with personalized service is key to meeting the needs to achieve your objectives in todays’ markets. Whether your goal is strengthening your business or building and managing personal wealth we work as your partner; striving to deliver the most comprehensive service to further develop and protect your financial future. Our teams of financial professionals and primary support teams have decades of experience in catering to the needs of small and middle market companies, institutional investors, family offices, and individuals. We have successfully guided clients through many stages of life helping them create, preserve, and transfer wealth. Retirement plan structures for businesses and long-term planning for estates and individuals utilizing funds, fixed income, equities, and insurance products are all employed from an independent platform – providing unbiased service. Working with our global affiliations and strategic alliances we access the global financial markets as well as having the clout necessary to successfully service a full array of financial needs.” Visit Madison Global Partners’ Profile


Industries: Telecommunication, Software & Technology, Health Care


“Frontier Investment Banking is a leading, boutique investment banking firm focused on providing Merger & Acquisition, Corporate Finance and other advisory services to middle market companies and their owners.” Visit Frontier Investment Banking’s Profile


Industries: Manufacturing, Software & Technology, Health Care, Consumer Products, Logistics & Transportation, Supply & Distribution, Chemical, Aerospace, Food & Agribusiness, Steel & Metals, Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment, Advertising & Marketing Services, Consumer Services, Financial Services, Financial Institutions, Business Services, Building Construction, Utilities & Energy Services, Retail, Industrial Services, Oil & Gas


“XLCS Partners, Inc. is an independent investment banking firm that provides M&A advisory, capital raising and debt advisory for select clients globally. Middle market companies and private equity funds rely on our creative solutions, thoughtful insight and truthful advice when considering exiting their companies, making strategic acquisitions, partnering with private equity sponsors and raising debt or equity capital.and raising debt or equity capital.” Visit XLCS Partners’ Profile


Industries: Manufacturing, Industrials, Consumer Goods, Financial Services, Technology, Retail, Business Services, Energy & Utilities, Materials, Distribution, Health Care, Media, Consumer Services, Real Estate, Life Sciences, Telecommunications


League Table Methodology


Unlike traditional league table structures that have remained the same for years, with firms being assessed against deal volume and deal dollar volume, Axial league tables surface data on investment banks that reveal their selectivity, the relative attractiveness of their client’s businesses, and their overall sell-side process efficacy.

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

  • Client Quality: Buy-side demand for engagements represented by the advisor
  • Buy-Side 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

Axial League Table data incorporates and includes:

  • Overall Deal Relevance: How many buy-side mandates (financial and strategic) align with the advisor’s engagements.
  • Process Selectivity: How broad or narrow are the advisors’ sell-side processes relative to their peers?
  • Signed NDAs: How many buyers indicate interest in each of the advisor’s engagements, measured by the number of signed NDAs.
  • Buyer Referrals: Feedback we receive from buyers regarding the manner in which the advisor manages their processes.
  • Closed Deals: How many deals has the advisor closed where they involved one or more Axial buyers in the process?


Together, the top 20 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.


About Axial

Axial is the trusted deal platform serving the lower middle market ($5-$250M TEV).

Over 3,500 advisory firms and 1,800 corporate and financial buyers have joined Axial to efficiently connect with relevant capital partners, source actionable deals, and build new relationships.

Visit the Member Closed Deals page to see selected transactions that have been sourced and closed via Axial.

Learn More      Request a Demo

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