2020 took uncertainty to new heights. Deals came to an abrupt halt in Q2 as corporates focused on preserving cash and stabilizing their businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Private equity firms looked for nontraditional ways to invest money. The real estate finance market essentially froze for several months. Only the debt financing markets defied gravity, thanks to low interest rates and government support of the capital markets.
The third quarter showed a marked uptick in deal activity, leading to an explosion of deals in Q4, once a better understanding of the pandemic's impact and a renewed confidence in valuations took hold.
Corporate governance practices changed, not only due to the pandemic, but in response to movements to address systemic racism, police brutality, and other social justice issues. While shareholder activists took a step back in 2020, ESG trends came into sharper focus.
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