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TORONTO — Middle-market transactions, which represent the heart of the Canadian market, are expected to continue to see activity this year, according to a survey of 125 private equity practitioners and investments bankers in the United States and Canada. Sixty-five respondents think the $50 million – $250 million range will see the most mergers and acquisitions opportunities in Canada, according to the report, which was done by Mergermarket for Blake, Cassels & Graydon, a Canadian law firm with more than 550 lawyers. Last year, 27% of Canadian deals were in this range. Although investors are cautious about prospects for Canadian equity because of the credit crunch, they remained optimistic about the long term, with only 9% saying it would last beyond 2008. “In 2008, we are going to see a tremendous pool of available capital and a desire to complete transactions competing with tight credit conditions and negative experiences, primarily in the U.S., where broken deals have made boards of directors wary,” Michael Gans, a partner in the firm’s New York office, said in a news release. “However, the historically conservative nature of Canadian lenders and the mid-market nature of the marketplace mean that Canada is well situated for the year ahead.” As far as which regions are most attractive for Canadian investors, the United States remained the top choice, followed by Europe. The 24-page study can be viewed on the firm’s Web site, www.blakes.com.

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