After exits cratered in the first quarter this year, deal volume has risen, but with no clear sign that buyout market sales activity is back to normal. “The first part of the year was a dead spot,” said Brian McPeake, partner and co-chair of the Private Equity group. But signs of a wider rebound are afoot, “As a practice, we’ve seen considerable momentum in last three to six months in the prep work for deals that [could take place] later this year and early next year,” he said to FundFire. “We’re seeing the resumption of [investment] banker-led processes, which is the first indication for a more widespread resumption in deal activity.” But several variables will determine whether today’s signs translate into a true return to normal exit activity. Closing that gap may require “a point of capitulation” by private equity sellers, with managers accepting more modest returns in their current vintages as the cost of getting the market moving again, McPeake said.