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From 2006 through early 2008, the mergers and acquisitions market for agents and brokers was red hot. Buyers–including public brokers, banks and private equity groups–were competing aggressively to get deals done. As they did so, both deal valuations and deal volumes rose above historical levels.

But by late 2008, the climate had changed. The stock market was in rapid decline, the banking industry was in crisis, and the global economy was in recession.

A combination of economic and political uncertainty drove many of the previously active buyers out of the market. Some indicated they would be “more deliberate” in 2009, code for “unless we see something really compelling, we plan to wait out the storm.”

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