2020 Private Equity Midyear Review and Outlook

31 July 2020
View Debevoise's Private Equity Report

Letter from the Editors

The first half of 2020 has, of course, been dominated by the pandemic. Public markets have been up and down, M&A activity dramatically slowed, and the outlook for new fundraisings is less clear than it has been for many years. As we report in this edition of Private Equity Report’s Mid Year Review and Outlook, sponsors have been focused on supporting the liquidity and business requirements of portfolio companies. During the second half of the year, we expect some innovative refinancing transactions alongside an uptick in restructuring activity. At the same time, many dealmakers have been creative, with take-privates and strategic investments in public companies seeing something of a resurgence in Asia and the United States respectively.

It is not yet certain what the longer-term implications of the crisis will be, but some are already becoming clear. The many episodes of racial violence and injustice over the last few months are a sharp reminder to us all of continuing racial inequalities, while the pandemic itself highlighted many social issues that are often hidden from view. Private equity firms and their portfolio companies have been among those in the business community responding positively to these events. As highlighted in this edition, we believe that this focus on business integrity will continue in the years ahead —as policy-makers and asset-owners continue to demand more deliberate attention to the social, environmental and governance agenda from all quarters of the investment community.

We hope that you find the insights that follow to be helpful as we all navigate the new terrain. To this end, we are also pleased to inform you that Debevoise’s Private Equity Group has launched a new digital channel—the Private Equity Report Webcast Briefing series. This is a supplement to our quarterly Debevoise & Plimpton Private Equity Report, now approaching its 20th year of publication. This new platform provides timely insights into developing legal issues that impact our private equity sponsor and portfolio company clients. We hope you join us for these webcasts, and we encourage you to access the on-demand recordings provided on our website.

In the meantime, we wish you and your families a safe, healthy and rapid return to the “new normal!”