James Birge of Faegre Baker Daniels summarized 2012 middle market M&A activity in an article authored for Inside Indiana Business. He pointed out that 2012 was the "flight to quality" year in regards to middle market deal activity. As the equity markets compensated companies with strong brands and sound balance sheets in 2012, acquirers were also willing to pay high valuations for high-quality businesses, but were less enthused to go "bargain shopping" for more challenged companies. What does this mean for 2013? According to a recent ParenteBeard study, 59 percent of respondents predict an increase in overall deal activity in 2013.