2021 Insights: Corporate

Skadden's 2021 Insights

US M&A Outlook: Rebounding Market Fuels Optimism for Deal Activity in 2021
The U.S. M&A market faced unprecedented challenges in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dealmaking returned in full force by the end of the year, and economic and political conditions support a strong 2021 for U.S. M&A.

2021 Forecast for UK M&A and IPOs: Delayed Gratification?
COVID-19 took a toll on U.K. deal activity in 2020, but a resurgence of M&A late in the year, an abundance of dry powder and the prospect that the pandemic will be brought under control all bode well for 2021.

UK Follows Global Trend To Enhance National Security Protections
The U.K. is the latest G-8 nation to propose enhanced protections against certain types of foreign direct investment. A proposed law before Parliament comes amid the U.K.'s separation from the EU. The breadth of businesses intended to be covered, without a number of the typical safe harbors, makes the new U.K. scheme broader in scope than any other foreign direct investment regulatory system of a major economy, including the U.S.

The Year of the SPAC
Transactions by SPACs exploded in 2020, resulting in a 320% increase in the number of SPAC IPOs compared to 2019. SPACs are established as legitimate investment and M&A alternatives, both for shareholders seeking investment opportunities in the IPO and target companies looking for M&A partners in the de-SPAC transaction, and are expected to remain popular in 2021.

European Debt and Equity Markets Resilient in Face of Turbulent Year
European markets began returning to life in mid-2020 following the initial impact of COVID-19, leading to a strong year for European high-yield issuance. Equity markets also showed strength in response to the pandemic and the unpredictability it brought, with many listed companies accessing equity markets for liquidity, and IPOs rebounded in the second half of 2020. Market conditions bode well for a strong start to 2021.

Hong Kong’s Exchange Improves Its Allure for Chinese Issuers
U.S.-listed Chinese companies are finding that a secondary listing in Hong Kong is not just a hedge against U.S. regulatory uncertainty but also a good way to raise more capital. Meanwhile, Hong Kong is making it easier for Chinese biotech companies to list there.

US Corporate Governance: The Ascension of ESG
The events of 2020 and their aftermath have made it clear that ESG is not a fad that will recede, even during a crisis. If anything, 2020 made ESG's importance clear and firmly established it as being a more important engagement and voting topic going forward.

Priorities To Shift for Biden’s SEC
The Biden SEC is expected to prioritize ESG disclosure, regulation of foreign-based issuers and share repurchases, and enforcement of insider trading and company disclosure violations.

Transition From Trump to Biden May Bring Less Change to Antitrust Enforcement Than Expected
Over the past four years, the DOJ's Antitrust Division and the FTC applied novel theories to increase scrutiny of vertical mergers or acquisitions of potential or nascent competitors, particularly in the technology sector. In doing so, they paved the way for continued aggressive enforcement by the Biden administration.

Post-Brexit, a More Demanding UK Merger Review Process
On January 1, 2021, the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority became a merger regulator independent of the European Commission. The CMA promises to be a competition authority to watch in global M&A in 2021.

Uptick in Restructurings May Outlast COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive disruption across the globe, resulting in a significant uptick in U.S. restructuring activity. But many experts believe we have yet to see the full extent of the surge in filings that will occur in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. The amount of leveraged loans that becomes due in the next five years, combined with the economic impact of COVID-19, may serve as the catalyst for the next wave of restructuring.

Corporate Sponsorship of Private Funds as an Integrated Asset Finance Platform
Corporate sponsored funds present a range of advantages for corporate enterprises and institutional fund investors, including their ability to support a corporate enterprise's key strategic objectives and secure high-upstream investment opportunities for Investors.