Friedemann Thomma was quoted in the March 2020 issue of The M&A Lawyer regarding the impact of COVID-19 on potential and ongoing mergers. As of press time for this issue, 109,000 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed worldwide and stocks had posted their worst weekly decline since 2008.
According to the article, a key issue in China at the time of the interview was that the mandatory quarantines had essentially shut down the Chinese economy for over a month. “I have clients in China and everyone is home right now. They literally cannot go to work,” Thomma said. “Obviously that’s a problem when trying to get a deal done. That’s granular. If they were working on a deal, they now cannot produce the financials—it’s not practical.”
“We have several deals that aren’t proceeding and it’s a wait-and-see approach,” he added. “But it’s not that the buyer and seller have concerns, it’s just that it’s practically impossible to proceed right not.”
Thomma emphasized that the situation still felt more like a pause rather than being something that could seriously deflate Chinese M&A. “Will the deals eventually get done? Absolutely,” he added.