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Alternative Market Briefing

Other voices: Pandemic-derived supply chain issues unlock investment opportunities

Friday, October 15, 2021

Authored by: Germaine Nicole Gurr and Arlene Arin Hahn of White & Case, a global law firm.

Pent-up demand for M&A deals has been unleashed to deliver the busiest first three quarters of a year for investment banks on Mergermarket record (since 2006). The boom is partly driven by abundant liquidity, cheap financing and well-capitalized PE funds, but organizations are also under pressure to adjust to a world reshaped by the pandemic. The need for businesses to become more strategically relevant and digitally enabled is a strong motivator for M&A.

Another potential driver is the immense strain that global supply chains are currently under, as companies seek greater operational resilience. When the US and Europe saw their vaccine programs gain traction, lockdown measures ease and economies roar back to life earlier this year, severe disruptions began to emerge.

The pandemic has proved to be a bane for forecasting, or "demand variability." When buy orders fell precipitously last year, supplier factories wound down their activity. Supply chains have now been whipsawed by resurgent demand on the one side and a lack of supply on the other, as suppliers struggle with shortages of both labor and materials as well as inflationary pressures. Inventory levels in Europe and the US remain at their lowest levels on record.

Evidence of this disruption can be seen across the economy. The global semiconductor shortage has had a knock-on effect for no less than 169 ind......................

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