Buyer’s market, or seller’s market? In this time of global pandemic, how about neither, says Prairie Capital Advisors Co-founder and Chairman Ken Serwinski.
“Quite frankly, I have to question whether it’s a market for either one right now,” Serwinski says. “How do you facilitate a management presentation when you’re not allowed to have more than 10 people congregating in any one particular meeting area and 12 people show up for the management presentation? How do you handle 2020?”
As Serwinski studies the market and talks to people in his network, the overwhelming sentiment in most of those conversations is an abundance of caution.
“If buyers are going to go a little slower because they want to make sure they understand the business that much better, then the sellers are going to go just as slowly to make sure they understand they’re not leaving anything on the table,” Serwinski says. “By waiting six months or a year, could they achieve a better price for themselves and better terms and conditions?”
Serwinski spoke with the Smart Business Dealmakers podcast about his reaction to the pandemic and the effect it could have on a variety of key industry sectors. Below are excerpts from that conversation.
Listen to the podcast
What are some early indications you’re seeing on how different dealmaking will look coming out of the pandemic?
Disruption is going to be very key to a buyer. You’re going to look at the supply chain and say to yourself that this company’s supply chain originates in China and the product has to be shipped to Vietnam. And then the end product is shipped from Vietnam to the U.S.
If China has another pandemic as is currently happening, Vietnam is not getting the materials they need to build the product before they could ship it here. Is that the right supply chain, or do I need a supportive one that I could go to in case of an emergency? I think people are going to be asked to have secondary sources of supply, and that’s just one example of additional diligence that will need to be done.
What effect could the pandemic have on the commercial real estate and distribution sectors?
I do think that there’s going to be some interesting pockets of real estate, because one of the things we did learn in this is the demand for product to be distributed and delivered to your home. Some of it was successful. Some of it was not as successful.
I think we’re going to keep seeing the continued building of good-sized distribution centers to help deliver the products that we need. If we’re going to be spending more time at home or potentially enjoying this idea of having my groceries delivered and having everything I need to live on delivered rather than shopping in a mall, this may very well be another nail in the coffin of a lot of retail.