The number of acquisitions of small companies fell by 18% last year, as entrepreneurial owners struggled to expand or sell their businesses, new research shows. According to analysis of Experian Corpfin data by law firm Berg, there were 203 deals with sale values of between £2m and £10m in 2011, down from an already low 249 in 2010. The analysis found that combined deal values fell from £1.15bn in 2010 to £965m last year. Berg said that this “lower mid-market” was a “barometer of investor sentiment”.