The PricewaterhouseCoopers Transaction Services practice recently released a study showing M&A activity remained at sluggish levels during the first half of 2010, despite improvements in credit and equity markets. According to the report, the number of closed deals in the U.S. was 3% lower than in the same period of 2009, which represents the lowest deal volume this decade. The study predicts, however, that activity for the second half of 2010 will be more robust, at least for middle market deals. PWC expects several trends, including (1) private equity players will remain active in buying distressed assets, (2) declining values of the euro and the pound will make cross-border deals more attractive for U.S. buyers, and (3) corporations will have “unprecedented cash levels” on their balance sheets that can be deployed in acquisitions. PWC also predicts that looming tax increases may prompt an increased level of divestitures designed to close before year end.