In the first eight months of 2020, M&A activity in the banking sector essentially ground to a halt.
The industry saw 173 transactions worth over $45 billion take place from January to August of 2019. So far this year, however, there have only been 66 transactions valued at a total of $7.44 billion.
Considering that the last three years have generated a significantly greater number of deals (255, 254, & 257 respectively), 2020 has some catching up to do. But in all fairness, those other years didn’t have worldwide pandemics to contend with, nor did they see entire economies turned upside down.
From the corner suite to the corner store, every sector of the marketplace has been dramatically affected by COVID-19. Hardly anyone saw it coming, and no one could have predicted the unprecedented economic reaction that followed.
But that’s not telling you anything you didn’t already know.
Even though this has been the first pandemic for most of us, we’re all pretty clear that it has been a big deal.
One question posed by many of our clients is:
COVID-19 has certainly left no stone unturned when it comes to the damage it (or our reaction to it) has caused over the past several months.
Entire sections of the U.S. economy shut down literally overnight. Millions of Americans were forced out of work. Businesses both large and small have struggled to survive—and some may never return. Uncertainty hangs in the air like a fog that refuses to lift.
Bank stock prices were no exception to the disruption and have been significantly impacted during the first half of 2020.
This month’s blog post is an article that we recently published in the industry magazine, Business Valuation Resources (BVR). You can read the introduction below and then download a free PDF of the entire article.
Valuation professionals are faced with a complex problem of providing appraisals of private companies with valuation dates in 2020 while considering the market volatility and economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As entire sections of the U.S. economy were shut down and millions of people were forced out of work, business owners in the United States have faced significant uncertainties about the future cash flows of their companies.
When providing appraisals of companies in the time period where the impact of the pandemic is known and knowable, valuation professionals are tasked with: (1) deriving a discount rate that reflects the level of risk inherent in the company’s future cash flows; and (2) assess- ing whether the cash flows to be discounted/ capitalized reflect the risk and uncertainty the pandemic caused. For example, if the valuation professional is provided with projected future financial statements from company management that reflect the expected impact of the pandemic on the cash flows, then recent guidance from the AICPA and appraisal organizations is to utilize the inputs to the cost of equity capital that would otherwise normally apply (no specific adjustment). However, if management is unable to provide projected financial statements that accurately reflect the impact of the pandemic, then recent guidance from the AICPA and appraisal organizations is that the valuation professional would need to use a discount rate that reflects the risk factors of the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, the appraiser would need to increase the discount rate by some amount.
In this article, we will develop a methodology to help valuation professionals quantify the additional risk that could be used for appraisals of private companies where forecasted cash flows that reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are not available.
By now, most states in the US are open for business to some degree after the COVID-19 lockdowns. Only a handful have yet to reopen their economies. Most are continuing to operate under partial restrictions, but at least many businesses can begin bringing in some sort of revenue.