Buyout groups find themselves at a crossroads. Even though M&A deal volume is strong, deal value is falling.Purchase price multiples have fallen 20% from their 2021 peak. And as GPs consider where to put their record amount of dry powder to work, high interest rates mean that a greater frequency of smaller deals are being completed: causing a divergence between deal value and deal count. Year-to-date, the dollar value of M&A activity is down a third. Shopping around for cheaper transactions is likely to be a temporary fashion trend, as buyout partners come under increasing pressure from LPs to put more of their dry power to work. For now though, it seems bargains rather than trophy assets are the preferred option.