We’re taking a look at how things have played out in the M&A, fundraising and LP worlds during the past few months, but more importantly, we’re trying to suss out how things may evolve over the remainder of the year. We’ve talked to a variety of the players who are in the thick of it – many of them veterans of previous shocks, such as the global financial crisis of 2008 – and asked them for their take on the markets.
There are promising signs: private equity raised $162 billion in the first half of this year, actually higher than last year’s first-half total of just over $150 billion. A lot of that may have been locked in before the pandemic struck, but it offers a glimmer of hope.
Not as rosy: PE-backed M&A activity sank dramatically and quickly in the first half of 2020. The overall value of private equity transactions dropped by 24 percent, alongside an 8 percent decrease in deal count in the first half of 2020. But dealmakers are loaded with dry powder and are optimistic. Given the medical crisis and the global adaptation to remote learning, commerce and education, it’s not surprising that investors are chasing companies in the health and tech sectors.
Sources are telling us how hard it is to get accurate valuations of portfolio companies going forward – ultimately, how can you know how companies will fare when we don’t know how people will work, where they will live, how they’ll exercise, how they’ll shop for clothing and food, if they’ll travel and how far, how they’ll socialize, attend sporting events, movies, theaters and museums? Seismic changes in lifestyle will lead the markets.
Finally, you are forgiven if you have “We all live in a yellow quarantine!” going through your head as you read our cover package. We thought that some color was needed to lighten your mood and ours.