Source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (EU) [1]



Source: Tokyo Stock Exchange, Shanghai Stock Exchange [2]

Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis[3], UK Office for National Statistics[4], European Commission[5], National Bureau of Statistics of China[6]

As discussed, Asian industry sectors have resumed their overseas M&A sourcing activities, and are willing to engage with Western business owners in a process and even more so on a bilateral basis. The rise of video conferencing tools has lowered the hurdles for holding principal to principal meetings earlier in the deal process, particularly for the Japanese who were previously hesitant for the reasons of travel cost, member availability of typically large deal team, and above all, conservative business culture. During the lock-down, we have seen many Asian potential investors appreciating presentations over Zoom, and even live product demos and virtual 'point-GoPro-to-order' live site tours.

While a remaining hurdle is the international travel ban – preventing the final ‘sign-off' of a deal based on physical meetings and site visits -  as Europe continues to be rated ‘Risk Zone 3’ by the Japanese government (the second highest level just below ‘evacuation’) the barrier will remain, although likely not longer-term.  

Irrespective of short-term issues, the combination of Asia’s economic recovery more swiftly than the West, and the rise of the virtual deal making process, has ensured that activity can – at least in part -  resume as normal. If you are a Western business owner in certain sectors, looking for buyers who appreciate a long-term value and can see past the current Covid-19 turmoil, engaging early and proactively with Asian investors may increase your chances of successful deal outcomes.

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[1] Covid-19 situation update, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (EU), October 2020

[2] Tokyo Stock Exchange, 2020, Shanghai Stock Exchange, 2020

[3] Gross Domestic Product, Bea, Q2 2020

[4] Gross Domestic Product, ONS, Q2 2020

[5] Eurostat Data Navigation Tree, eurostat, 2020

[6] Data, National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2020