2021 could be a banner year for M&A activity, particularly in the middle market, as the economy recovers. Sellers of a strong, healthy middle-market business may be in a position to capitalize on opportunities presented from well-funded buyers with capital to deploy, or strategics looking to scale their business or disrupt the market. Buyers seeking deals are seeing a growing pool of sellers as companies severely effected by the pandemic are reassessing strategies and noncore assets.
Have expectations changed? How has the Covid-19 pandemic forced dealmakers to refresh their toolbox? Will cross-border and cross-sector deals remain prevalent in the middle-market? How has deal sourcing changed in the past year? Will SPACs continue to play a significant role in the M&A market?
Join The Deal and a roster of senior corporate executives, private equity and institutional investors, and corporate advisers for The Deal Economy: Middle Market Week. This virtual event features two days of online sessions exploring the opportunities, obstacles and risks middle-market dealmakers face in the current environment and how to navigate through them. Your registration provides access to all of the sessions. View them live as they happen or on demand at a time that is convenient for you.
Adrianne is the Managing Director of Eurazeo Brands, a division of one of the largest European listed private equity firms with $20B in net assets under management.
The recovery of M&A activity toward the end of 2020 continues to accelerate in 2021, and as valuations remain high, we see targets coming from a growing pool of sellers. Paused deals have re-emerged, private equity still has record amounts of dry powder to deploy, and companies that were hit hard during the pandemic are reassessing strategies and noncore assets. What sectors will see opportunity during the recovery? What obstacles may affect deal flow? How will the new presidential administration’s laws and regulations on tax, trade, healthcare and the environment change the landscape? What role will M&A play in the overall global economic recovery?
Panelist: Vin Batra, Managing Director, Configure Partners
Panelist: Tiffany Kosch, Managing Director, CenterGate Capital
Panelist: Justin Noznesky, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, AtriCure Inc.
Panelist: Matt Wiener, Managing Director, Aon
With deal prices climbing, especially in competitive processes, proprietary transactions sourced outside of a normal process are more crucial than ever. But PE executives have had to navigate a difficult patchwork of video calls and digital introductions to keep the pipeline robust. How are PE firms allocating resources to source fresh M&A deals during the pandemic?
Panelist: Jeff Magny, Founder and Managing Partner, Lincoln Road
Panelist: Jamie Manges, Partner, Trilantic North America
Panelist: Adrianne Shapira, Managing Director, Eurazeo Brands
Private equity remains in a strong position as the opportunities for investors and firms looking to deploy capital continue to evolve. Will the recovery bring back larger deals? Will the market for more exits via SPACs and IPOs stay robust? Will a rising nationalistic sentiment and a post-Covid focus on reliable and resilient supply chains lead to a more local bias in sectors such as healthcare, clean energy and green infrastructure? What are investor expectations for the rest of 2021?
Panelist: Mike Bego, Managing Partner, Kline Hill Partners
Panelist: Kelly Ford Buckley, General Partner, Edison Partners
Panelist: Stephen Master, Principal, GTCR
Panelist: Neal Reenan, Partner, Latham & Watkins
Panelist: Jeffrey Stevenson, Managing Partner, VSS
From green initiatives to assessing diversity of workforces and management teams to equality, justice and other social issues, companies are being held accountable to shareholders and customers like never before. At the same time, ESG initiatives can also impact profits and must be considered even when assessing transactions. How are buyers and their investors evaluating targets based on ESG and sustainability transparency? How can these efforts affect valuations and sale processes? How do sellers ensure they are maximizing their ESG initiatives and show they are making progress on sustainability initiatives? What are the most important things for sellers to address when it comes to ESG?
Panelist: Shannon Fritz, Senior Managing Director, Antares Capital
Panelist: Christina Morin, Managing Principal, Investor Relations, Graham Partners
As dealmakers look back at the pandemic and evaluate new deals, one of the biggest challenges they face is trying to assess the effect of Covid-19 on the target’s operating results. Buyers are focused on assessing the target’s resilience to crisis and plans in place to manage any future issues. Sellers, meanwhile, must ensure a buyer’s commitment to a deal and the risks involved. Have these changes created any additional liabilities for buyers or sellers? How have restructurings and reductions in hours or wages affected business? With many employees continuing to work from home, are cybersecurity and data privacy more of a concern? How may PPP loans, changes in accounting policies or revenue recognition affect balance sheets?
Panelist: Carolyn Hastings, Managing Director, Credit, Bain Capital Credit
Panelist: David Schnadig, Co-President, Cortec Group
SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies) are shell companies created for the sole purpose of taking a private company public and have been playing a significant role in the M&A market, as capital flows at a staggering rate into these “blank check” companies. For sellers, SPACs expand the investor pool and provide a way to access capital that otherwise might not have been available and may be more desirable than an outright sale to another corporate or PE buyer. Will we see the SPAC frenzy continue, and what nuances do investors and companies need to be aware of?
Panelist: Brendan Carroll, Senior Partner and Co-Founder, Victory Park Capital
Panelist: Pat McHugh, Founder, Senior Managing Director, Okapi Partners
Companies that invested in innovation and technology during the pandemic have emerged stronger, with increased efficiency and new products and services that disrupted the market. Middle-market transactions often involve companies from different sectors that can represent bold moves, and with Covid-19 changing consumer behavior and expectations, these cross-sector deals can keep companies competitive. With many business models toppled or interrupted by the pandemic, how can companies and investors use small or midsize deals in adjacent sectors to help drive disruption and transformation?
International M&A activity declined in 2020 as Covid-19 only added to the uncertainty created from global geopolitical tensions, Brexit, the U.S. presidential election and continued regulatory scrutiny. International targets, however, remain a focus for dealmakers seeking to increase scale and bolster global supply chains. With Brexit now complete, an EU-U.K. trade deal in place and a new U.S. administration in power, will we see a return to cross-border deals, particularly in Europe? Are there other jurisdictions that are ripe for U.S. cross-border activity?
Panelist: Robert Carlon, Director, Corporate Development, Smiths Group
Panelist: Eric Sondag, Managing Director, Eurazeo Capital
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