The Impact of the Pandemic on M&A with Saurabh Rajwade 

Saurabh Rajwade is an expert in the field of mergers and acquisitions and he is currently working with a major financial services company, where he focuses on M&A in the tech sector. 

Rajwade has had a long and successful career in M&A as an analyst and consultant on very large deals, giving him a valuable perspective on the current state of M&A, which was the subject of our recent interview with Rajwade. 

More specifically, we discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mergers and acquisitions in the tech sector and beyond. 

If you’ve been keeping up with the news over the last 14 months or so, then you’ll already be aware that several major tech companies have seen a significant amount of growth and success during quarantine. 

This, of course, has had a direct influence on how those companies have been considering and executing major mergers and acquisitions. 

But of course, Rajwade can shed more light on these topics than we ever could, so let’s move on to our full interview with Rajwade, which you’ll find below. 

Do you feel that M&A, at large, has been impacted heavily by the pandemic?

I think M&A was impacted by the pandemic in the late Q1 and Q2 when much of the travel was restricted and all organizations were adjusting to the new normal of working remotely. 

As you can imagine, a big part of the M&A process is in-person diligence meetings and it was a challenge to get parties comfortable with diligence meetings over the phone since most of the teams and organizations were still in that transitional phase. 

By Q3 2020, industry had adapted well to the remote working environment. Although pandemics created challenges to do business in a normal way, it also created multiple opportunities for technology companies to help consumers and companies adapt to remote work and offer innovative solutions. 

My work is focused on M&A in the technology industry and the second half of 2020 saw record numbers on deals in the technology sector, the highest in the past 20 years.

Has your own professional role been altered at all during the past year?

As I mentioned earlier, tech M&A has been positively impacted by the pandemic and Q4 2020 saw the highest ever Technology M&A volume. It has been a busy year for the technology bankers. 

My role has primarily remained the same, i.e. executing the M&A transactions and helping the teams win new mandates. Although, remote work was a challenge initially as we adjusted to communicating and collaborating with clients and internal teams over Zoom and Teams.

Do you expect to see a larger number of mergers and acquisitions in the months after widespread COVID vaccination? 

What we can glean from the first few weeks of 2021 is that the appetite for M&A remains strong. I do expect to see larger number of M&A deals this year. As I mentioned before, the industry has adjusted well to the pandemic and I don’t believe there will be a significant increase in the current volume of deals post-COVID vaccination, as the current M&A volume is already at historically high levels.

Are there any recent deals you’ve worked on that you would like to mention to our readers?

Recently, I have worked on a few very interesting deals in the marketing analytics, customer engagement, and communication sectors worth approximately $2 billion. However, I can’t talk more about these due to confidentiality reasons.

How closely do you follow financial news about major mergers and acquisitions? Do you feel this is important to your work?

Information is the key in any field and staying up to date is essential as an advisor. I follow the financial news about M&A in the tech sector but also the market news as there are multiple leading indicators and market activity which can show how the investors are thinking about investments in a particular sector. 

When communicating with clients, having the pulse of recent developments in the relevant sector is key and helps in building strong relationships and providing sound advice.

In your eyes, what has been one of the most significant mergers or acquisitions in the last 2 years?

There were multiple acquisitions in the last two years which have been significant in their respective sectors: Slack’s acquisition by Salesforce or Postmates’ acquisition by Uber are some of the recent examples, where strategic acquirors have made big acquisitions in the adjacent market segment.

Is there any additional information you’d like to share with our readers?

I would like to highlight the role SPAC (commonly known as blank-check companies) have played in the recent uptick in M&A. SPACs accounted for a huge percentage of the amount raised through US public offerings and these might account for roughly $200 billion acquisitions over the next few years.

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Mike Thompson

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