Chart of the week: Big deals regain top spot as most expensive part of the market

Over the last twelve months, EBITDA multiples for deals of $500 million to $1 billion in the United States traded for more than a full turn above the median for all of 2014, according to data from Capital IQ and Robert W. Baird & Co. As a general rule big companies command higher multiples than smaller ones. But in 2009, 2010 and 2013 companies valued between $100 million and $499 million were actually more expensive, as measured by EBITDA multiple, than those in the $500 million to $1 billion category. Analysts point to heavy competition for companies in the $100 million to $499 million category from strategic acquirers looking to make acquisitions that move the needle (unlike smaller deals) without being potentially career-killing (unlike bigger deals) if they don’t work out.