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With interest rates at an ebb, M&A activity is on the rise. Is now the right time for you to jump in and catch the wave?

By C.J. Prince

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Last year was a good one for wheelers and dealers, as M&Aactivity reached $1 trillion, up from $824 billion in 2004. Thisyear's numbers are expected to surpass that, assuming interestrates remain relatively low. But is this particular rising tidelifting all boats? More specifically, is now a good time forentrepreneurs to either cash in their hard-won profits and positivecash flow by selling for a pretty penny or use their own surplus toacquire a smaller company that might help them expand?

Eric Gebaide, managing director of Innovation Advisors, aninvestment banking firm in New York City that focuses on the middlemarket, says it is. He notes that while they don't get the samemedia attention as the major mergers, acquisitions involvingsmaller companies accounted for a significant portion of the 10,700transactions rung up in 2005. "When you say the M&A marketis robust, it is that $20 million [and below] deal size that hasbeen the most robust," he says, adding that technology,medical devices and manufacturing have all been especially busyindustries.

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