The New M&A (First of a Series)

This week we kick off a new series on COVID-impacted deal flow, with a look “upriver.” How has M&A activity been affected, and what should deal makers expect for the “new normal?” We spoke to select middle market investment banks about their experiences so far in this coronavirus season.

The beginning of the crisis caught advisory firms (and the rest of us) flat-footed. “Of the deals we had in the shop when the music stopped in early March, roughly 80% were put on hold,” one partner told us.

Another sell-side MD agreed. “Things came to a screeching halt,” he said. “We adjusted our expectations to 20% of normal in the early days. It’s climbed back up, and we’re seeing a good amount of activity, but it’s still half of what it was.

“We’ve still managed to sign up twenty or so deals since March,” he went on. “Not all of them have closed. But most of these assets have performed, particularly in the tech sector, healthcare and pockets of consumer. Industrials are more of a challenge.”