For all of the challenges of Covid-19, “We haven’t had to fundamentally redo the way we do deals,” said Vica Irani, who heads Jones Day’s M&A practice for Europe, the Middle East and Asia, on this week’s Drinks With The Deal Podcast.
“Even the deals that were already papered have held up remarkably well. There have been some changes around the edges,” she said. “There has been a great deal of thought about what ‘ordinary course’ means, what carve-outs are appropriate to deal with Covid-19, and what force majeure provisions look like. But by and large, the agreements themselves have held up.”
Dealmakers in the U.K. and Europe confronted the pandemic after almost four years of managing the uncertainty created by Brexit, she said, which placed an even greater premium on due diligence and led to an increase in arbitration provisions.
Buyers and sellers have also had to manage the possibility that more countries will allow for greater government oversight of M&A transactions. All of that has led to “an increased focus on execution certainly, she said, though “the process is still super-competitive for quality assets. Deals are still being done quickly. The deal environment and the competitive tension have held up well.”