Who made the best deals of the year?

We pick the top M&A transactions of 2013, a year that will be remembered for budget cuts and sequestration, but some notable deals were still completed. Who made the best of a bad year?

Merger and acquisition activity slowed during 2013, with a drop of nearly 30 percent from the 103 deals that closed in 2012.

The major culprit: The impact of sequestration and the uncertainty in the market surrounding the budget and what priorities would get funding. Many executives complained during 2013 that it was difficult to plan investments when they only had two or three months of visibility into market.

But despite the uncertainty, deals still were made in 2013, with 71 acquisitions closing during the calendar year. Click here to see our roundup of all the deals that closed in 2013.

And just because the pace of the deal making slowed, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t notable deals.

Washington Technology and a select group of merger and acquisition experts looked at the roundup of deals that closed during 2013 and identified the top deals in several categories.

These are deals that transformed the buyer, marked an important exit for the seller or announced the arrival of a new and aggressive player in the market. We also identified the top deals in several categories including health care, intelligence, and private equity.

So, who are these dealmakers? The list is below, and you can click on each link to read more about each deal.

Single Best Deal:
CACI International’s acquisition of Six3 Systems

Best Dealmaker:

Best Divestiture:
PAE’s acquisition of the Applied Technology Division from Computer Sciences Corp.

Best Health Care deal:
Accenture’s acquisition of ASM Research

Best Intelligence deal:
Behrman Capital’s acquisition of Tresys Technology

Best Civilian deal:
Acentia’s acquisition of InSysCo

Best Private Equity deal:
KS International’s merger with Michael Baker Corp.

Best Large Business deal:
Cisco Systems Inc.’s acquisition of SourceFire

Best Cyber deal:
FireEye acquisition of Mandiant

Best Small Business deal (a tie):
Haystax’s acquisition of Digital Sandbox
Tallasi’s acquisition of Gap Solutions

One of the emerging trends in 2013 was the large number of divestitures, where larger businesses such as Computer Sciences Corp., Leidos (formerly Science Applications International Corp.) and SRA International sold off portions of their businesses as to focus on core markets and capabilities.

All told, there were 12 deals that involved a divestiture during 2013 -- much higher than previous years, which generally only saw three or four such deals.

Consolidation in the market is expected to be a force in 2014, especially now that the budget picture is clearer.

Among the drivers of deals going forward is a need to gain size to gain economies of scale and investment in growing segments of the market such as cybersecurity to offset reductions in other areas.

The annual M&A roundup is compiled by Washington Technology with the help of Houlihan Lokey and other investment banks that track the government market.