Market Overview

Lincoln International's Middle Market Index Shows Ninth Consecutive Quarter of Enterprise Value Growth


Lincoln International's Middle Market Index Shows Ninth Consecutive Quarter of Enterprise Value Growth

Middle market enterprise value multiples are at their highest level since the inception of the Lincoln MMI in Q1 2014

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Aug. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Lincoln International, a leading global, mid-market investment bank, today released the second quarter 2018 issue of its Lincoln Middle Market Index (Lincoln MMI). The Lincoln MMI is a unique index measuring middle market enterprise values. The first-of-its-kind index provides a useful benchmarking tool for investors in private companies and private equity firms, allowing them to track how comparable enterprise values change over time and correlate to the public stock market.

Key observations of the Q2 2018 Lincoln MMI include:

  • Enterprise multiples in the middle market are at the highest level since the inception of the Lincoln MMI in 2014 Q1.
  • In Q2 2018, middle market enterprise values increased 2.5% compared to 3.4% for S&P 500 companies; however, for the first six months of 2018, middle market enterprise value growth of 5.5% beat that of the S&P 500 of 2.5%.
  • Steady growth in the Lincoln MMI was driven by both improved performance and multiple expansion whereas growth in the S&P 500 was driven by only improved performance as multiples were flat.
  • The Lincoln MMI continues to demonstrate that valuations of U.S. middle market companies are less volatile because of lower volatility in enterprise value multiples compared to the S&P 500; in the long run, earnings remain the driver of enterprise value growth for all companies.

"Private equity-backed middle market companies showed steady enterprise value growth this quarter, continuing the trend of growth with low volatility. Much of this growth over the last year relates to the industrial and technology industries as both experienced double-digit growth since Q2 2017," said Steve Kaplan, Neubauer Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, who assists and advises Lincoln about the index.

"While improved earnings drove all of the growth in the S&P 500 this quarter, earnings improvement was aided by increases in market multiples for the middle market," Ron Kahn, Managing Director and head of Lincoln's Valuations & Opinions Group added, "Middle market multiples increased to their highest level since inception of this index, reflecting the market's strong performance through mid-2018 as corporate earnings, employment and the U.S. economy remain strong. Additionally, we believe the earnings of all companies are increasingly showing the benefits of the December 2017 tax reform. Regardless, we are certainly aware that we continue to be in a period of strong stock market performance and declines for any reason, such as trade or monetary policy, are always possible."

Kahn continued, "The Lincoln MMI enables investors in private companies and private equity firms the ability to compare or benchmark their investments against an index comprised of hundreds of privately held companies. It demonstrates that middle market companies generate returns comparable to major public stock market indices but with less volatility."

Industry Sub-indices & Key Observations:

Lincoln breaks down the Lincoln MMI into six industries (business services, consumer, energy, healthcare, industrials, and technology) which provides unique insight into the performance of middle market companies by sector.

  • Middle market industrial companies followed their record quarterly enterprise value growth in Q1 2018 of 4.9% with a new record quarterly enterprise value growth of 5.2%.
  • Business services enterprise values in the middle market declined in Q2 2018 after five quarters of steady enterprise value growth.
  • Middle market technology companies outperformed all other industries over the past year with quarterly enterprise value growth of over 5.0% in three out of four quarters.
  • Although each industry showed enterprise value growth over the past year, industrial and technology companies grew 14.0% and 20.5%, respectively, compared to less than 3.0% for the four other industries.

About the Lincoln Middle Market Index
The Lincoln MMI is the only index that tracks changes in the enterprise value of U.S. privately held middle market companies, primarily owned by private equity firms.

The Lincoln MMI seeks to measure the variation in middle market companies' enterprise values by analyzing the aggregate change in both company earnings as well as the prevailing market multiples of nearly 400 middle market companies each generating less than $100 million in annual earnings. The Index is calculated using anonymized data on an aggregated basis by Lincoln's Valuations & Opinions Group, which has what we feel are unique insights into the financial performance of thousands of portfolio investments of financial sponsors, business development companies and private debt funds.

The methodology was determined by Lincoln in collaboration with Professors Steven Kaplan and Michael Minnis of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. While other indices track changes to a company's revenue or earnings, the Lincoln MMI is different in that it tracks the total value of these companies. Significantly, the large number of middle market companies used to create the Lincoln MMI helps ensure that the confidentiality of all company-specific information used in the Index is maintained.

Starting with a benchmark value of 10,000 as of March 31, 2014, the Lincoln MMI increased to 13,141 as of June 30, 2018, resulting in an annual compounded growth rate of 6.6 percent per year since inception.

Graph: Relationship of the Lincoln MMI to the S&P 500 (Note: Both the Lincoln and S&P 500 EV returns above reflect enterprise values)

For more information, visit

About Lincoln International
Lincoln International specializes in merger and acquisition advisory services, debt advisory services, private capital raising and restructuring advice on mid-market transactions. Lincoln International also provides fairness opinions, valuations and joint ventures and advisory services on a wide range of transaction sizes. With twenty offices in the Americas, Asia and Europe, Lincoln International has strong local knowledge and contacts in key global economies. The firm provides clients with senior-level attention, in-depth industry expertise and integrated resources. By being focused and independent, Lincoln International serves its clients without conflicts of interest. More information about Lincoln International can be obtained at

Media Contact
Cathryn Vaulman
+1 (212) 521 4847

Carrie Grapenthin
+1 (312) 628-1570

Important Disclosure

The Lincoln Middle Market Index is an informational indicator only and does not constitute investment advice or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security. It is not possible to directly invest in the Lincoln Middle Market Index. Some of the statements above contain opinions based upon certain assumptions regarding the data used to create the Lincoln Middle Market Index, and these opinions and assumptions may prove incorrect. Actual results could vary materially from those implied or expressed in such statements for any reason. The Lincoln Middle Market Index has been created on the basis of information provided by third-party sources that are believed to be reliable, but Lincoln International has not conducted an independent verification of such information. Lincoln International makes no warranty or representation as to the accuracy or completeness of such third-party information.


Cision View original content with multimedia:

SOURCE Lincoln International LLC

View Comments and Join the Discussion!