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Top 20 Lower Middle Market Investment Banks [Q2 2020]


We are excited to release Axial’s Q2 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.


18 of the top 20 investment banks were new to the list in Q2, with the remaining 2 firms returning from Q1. 

697 investment banks brought deals to market using Axial in Q2. 

Here are the top 20.


Top 20 Investment Banks


Rank Firm HQ Score
1 EBB Group TX .99
2 Woodbridge International CT .99
3 Windstream Partners AZ .99
4 SDR Ventures CO .98
5 Britehorn Partners CO .98
6 Transact Capital Partners VA .98
7 Meritage Partners CA .98
8 NorthView Advisors IL .97
9 Providium Advisors NC .97
10 Seapoint Business Advisors CA .97
11 Sun Mergers & Acquisitions NJ .97
12 Sterling Point Advisors VA .97
13 CDI Global FL .96
14 Ascend Strategic Partners CA .96
15 Plethora Businesses CA .96
16 Baird Business Owner Solutions KY .95
17 Mertz Taggart GA .95
18 Clayton Capital Partners MO .95
19 Vesticor Advisors MI .94
 20 Tully & Holland MA .93


Honorable Mentions

Client Quality

Firm HQ
Genki Capital TX
Casspium Associates NY
Whitehorse Partners TN
Calder Associates NJ
Full Throttle Mergers and Acquisitions VA


Buyer Targeting

Firm HQ
MidCap Advisors NY
PCE Investment Bankers FL
DAK Group NJ
Cliveden Advisory Group BC
Vibrant Equity TO


Process Effectiveness

Firm HQ
SECTOR Advisors GA
Flatirons Capital Advisors CO
Northbound Group WI
Southard Financial TN
SC&H Group MD

Industry Specialists 

Firm HQ
Large Practice Sales FL
TUSK Partners NC
American Healthcare Capital CA
Peak Technology Partners CA
martinwolf M&A Advisors AZ


About the Top 20



“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


“Woodbridge is an M&A firm with 19 offices in North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, providing clients with the local knowledge and global reach they demand. Our U.S. team is committed to providing sellers with a dynamic global marketplace of buyers in which to find the best possible value for their company. Our bankers have collectively closed over 500 transactions (5 since March) and know success can only be achieved when the deal process is not allowed to languish. That’s why our entire global team is focused on selling your company in 200 days from the time of engagement.” Visit Woodbridge International’s Profile


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


“Windstream Partners focuses on M&A advisory services, Capital Formation, Business Optimization, Strategic Planning, Restructurings & Turnaround transactions. The Windstream principals have completed Over $650 Million in transactions with Growth Stage and Lower Middle Market Companies.” Visit Windstream Partner’s Profile


Industries: Media, Telecom, Internet Services, Enterprise Software, SaaS, eCommerce, FinTech, BlockChain, Cyber Security, Business Services, Financial Services


“SDR Ventures is a Denver-based investment banking firm serving private business owners in the lower middle market, including companies with values up to $300 million. The SDR Ventures approach of THINKING LIKE OWNERS helps businesses maximize their value. Whether owners are looking to sell a business, buy a business or raise debt or equity, SDR is committed to helping them succeed.” Visit SDR Venture’s Profile


Industries: Consumer Products, Agriculture, Health & Wellness, Food & Beverage, Distribution, Manufacturing, Business Services, Healthcare, Technology


“Britehorn Partners specializes in working with high-growth public and private companies across a variety of industry verticals. We offer a full range of services including capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity restructurings, specialized transactions and corporate growth strategy. Our model of relationship banking, coupled with skilled execution, results in multiple assignments with our valued clients. To us, a client is more than a transaction, a client is a partner.” Visit Britehorn Partners’ Profile


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


“Transact Capital and subsidiary, Transact Capital Securities, represent business owners in the confidential sales of their business. Founded in 1999, our firm’s 15 experienced professionals specialize in selling privately-owned, mid-tier businesses throughout the U.S with enterprise values of up to $50MM. We have cultivated a reputation for providing our clients with a team of extremely smart, truthful, deal-savvy, close-oriented professionals with a bias for action and an overwhelming concern for our client’s well-being..” Visit Transact Capital Partners’ Profile


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


“Meritage Partners, Inc. is a boutique merger and acquisition advisory firm providing a multi-disciplined approach to the market. Our core focus is the sale of privately held and sustainable businesses in North America. Our advisory team consists of entrepreneurial-minded merger and acquisition professionals with over 100 years of collective experience. It has contributed to over $600 million in successful transactions, targeted to strategic acquirers, Private Equity Firms, high net-worth individuals, and public companies. We advise to companies in many industries with a core focus in medical laboratories, engineering, environmental services, manufacturing, healthcare, automotive, and logistics.” Visit Meritage Partners’ Profile


Industries: Industrials, Technology, Energy & Utilities, Materials, Health Care, Financial Services, Life Sciences, Communications


“Founded in 2010, NorthView Advisors LLC is a boutique, independent investment banking firm with offices throughout the US. We specialize in providing capital raising, M&A, and strategic advisory services to lower- middle-market businesses and private equity firms nationwide Our DNA consists of senior professionals with diversified skill sets and extensive transactional experiences that consistently deliver superior results for our clients – clients we consider Partners. Together we handle career and company-defining transactions from start to finish while you continue to focus on running your business.” Visit NorthView Advisors’ Profile


Industries: Commodities, Industrials, Business Services, Consumer Products, FinTech, Food & Beverage, IT Services, Real Estate, Staffing & Recruiting, Utlities & Telecom


“Providium was founded in 2016 out of a desire to bring top-tier corporate finance and advisory services to smaller privately held companies. Our team has over 50 years and hundreds of billions of dollars of finance, investment banking, small business mergers and acquisitions and private company valuation experience. We have worked for some of the largest investment banks in the world and yet have also owned and operated many small businesses. This unique combination of skills and experience enables us to bring a high level of success to our clients. Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy and yet the top investment banking firms focus all of their time and attention on Fortune 500 and 100 companies. At Providium, we love focusing solely on the small business universe and find that working with the owners and management teams of smaller companies is much more rewarding.” Visit Providium Advisors’ Profile


Industries: Software & Technology


“Seapoint Business Advisors is full service independent mergers and acquisitions firm focused on providing sound advice to business owners on the sale of their businesses. It was founded on the premise that many clients can be better served by a firm that offers transaction and brokerage advice from advisors with over 60 years of combined business experience in a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, software and technology, telecommunications, business services and healthcare.” Visit Seapoint Business Advisors’ Profile


Industries: Manufacturing, Technology, Business Services, Distribution, Industrials, Telecommunications, Media


“Sun Mergers & Acquisitions is a full-service professional business intermediary firm specializing in all aspects of the confidential sale, merger, acquisition and valuation of privately held mid-market companies with a primary focus in handling the sale of entrepreneurial and family held companies. Sun M&A brings extensive, broad based expertise, yielding the greatest probability of a successful sale with a maximum net after-tax yield.” Visit Sun Mergers & Acquisitions’ Profile


Industries: Industrials, Manufacturing, Transportation


“Focused on helping privately held businesses formulate and execute an exit strategy, we strive to cement your family’s legacy and financial wellbeing.  We understand the process is much more than a transaction; it is the culmination of decades of hard work and sacrifice.  We have aligned ourselves with strategic partners to assist during the entire process and take pride in being client-centered through our value added approach.  If you are considering selling your family business or have interest in acquiring a business, please consider allowing us the privilege of working with you.” Visit Sterling Point Advisors’ Profile


Industries: Industrials, Manufacturing


“CDI Global has advised on mergers and acquisitions for middle-market crossborder transactions for over 40 years. We are known for our experienced international personnel and our in-depth business development expertise. CDI has successfully partnered and collaborated with clients globally, in vertical sectors that span virtually every major industry that moves commerce, including technology, finance, retail, construction, industrial manufacturing, chemicals, oil & gas, healthcare & pharmaceuticals, food & agriculture and aerospace. We understand the prime importance of making informed choices in these complex global industries. Our experience, business perspective, and niche market specialization combine to help you reach your goals and expand your opportunities globally.” Visit CDI Global’s Profile


Industries: Technology, Finance, Retail, Construction, Industrial Manufacturing, Chemicals, Oil & Gas, Health Care & Pharmaceuticals, Food & Agriculture, and Aerospace


“Ascend Strategic Partners is a mergers & acquisitions (M&A) advisory firm geared specifically for owners of medium-sized businesses with earnings of $1 to $25 million and deal values of $5 to $200 million. Our team has completed over 100 transactions approaching $2 billion in value, along with hundreds of advisory engagements. Recent successes: Sale of a Platform water pump company, Fitness franchisor with over 80 locations to a boutique investment group. Buyside transaction in the Oil & Gas industry $207.5 million sale to Experian of our client Mighty Net, Inc. (, a provider of online credit scores and monitoring services to consumers. Sale of Velcon Filters, Inc. to both a private equity and a strategic. Negotiated a $100 million sale of a leading high tech security products manufacturer to a Fortune 500 company $20 million sale of a Defense Supply Manufacturer to an international strategic buyer. Negotiated an $18 million sale of an insurance claims administrator to a private equity group just to name a few.” Visit Ascend Strategic Partners Profile


Industries: Aerospace & Defense, Industrials, Oil & Gas, Manufacturing, Technology, Financial Services


“Plethora Businesses is a leading M&A firm specializing in mergers, acquisitions and appraisals.  We’ve been successfully advising business owners & investors throughout the United States since 1999. Our knowledgeable experts have a proven track record of guiding business transactions to successful closings in a confidential manner.” Visit Plethora Businesses’ Profile


Industries: Consumer Goods, Industrials, Materials, Retail, Business Services, Consumer Services, Media


“We advise buyers and sellers on business sales, mergers, acquisitions, ESOPs and other similar transactions. Our Business Owner Solutions team will deliver the strategic advice and practical guidance to help you achieve the optimal outcome in your business transition. Our credentialed, experienced business valuation team understands both the art and science of business valuation. We tailor each project to the client’s unique situation and needs. The ongoing M&A experience of our Business Owner Solutions team is a critical factor grounding our valuations in the real world. When you’re ready to transition your business to new ownership or to the next generation, our Business Owner Solutions team can help you develop a comprehensive and detailed exit plan that creates long-term financial security for you and your family and preserves your business legacy.” Visit Baird Business Owner Solutions’ Profile


Industries: Manufacturing, Financial Services, Technology, Energy & Utilities, Business Services, Distribution, Industrials, Health Care, Real Estate


“The principals of Mertz Taggart have successfully completed almost 70 healthcare business transactions since 2006. We also have experience owning/operating a health care company, which we believe gives Mertz Taggart a different perspective when representing our clients. From the first contact we have with you as a prospective client, you’ll find our approach differs from that of other M&A associationsintermediaries. We believe that your representation in the sale of a business should be client-centric, and that every step should move you closer to your goal. By taking time to understand our clients’ values and goals, we can design strategies that promote a successful transaction. Because we only represent a specific client profile that we know well, we ensure that your unique assets are marketed appropriately to qualified buyers. ” Visit Mertz Taggart’s Profile


Industries: Health Care


“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


“Vesticor Advisors was founded on the principle that owner-operated companies in the lower middle market are unique and require specialized attention and advice when considering strategic investment and exit opportunities. Vesticor Advisors provides M&A and capital raising advisory services exclusively to founder and owner-operated companies. We support clients with the expertise needed to build their business through growth acquisitions, optimize value in an exit or sale, transition ownership to family or management, divest non-core assets, or raise capital. After founding, building and exiting our own businesses, the partners at Vesticor came together under a shared vision: to build an M&A firm that helps other business owners achieve their dreams of growth, expansion, legacy and financial independence.” Visit Vesticor Mergers & Acquisitions’ Profile


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


“Tully & Holland is a boutique investment banking firm founded in 1992 that provides financial advisory services to the consumer sector. Tully & Holland consistently ranks among the nation’s most active investment banks in the Food & Beverage, Direct Marketing and Retail sectors. The firm offers merger and acquisition advisory, management buyouts, private placements and valuation services. The firm focuses on the middle market and typically handles transactions between $10 million and $200 million.” Visit Tully & Hollands’ Profile


Industries: Manufacturing & Industrial Services, Consumer Goods & Services, Media, Healthcare, Technology, Financial Services, Real Estate, Business Services, Business Services, Distribution, Industrials, Health Care, Technology


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 2,000 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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