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Top public M&A legal developments in 2020

Author(s): Emmanuel Pressman, Jeremy Fraiberg, Alex Gorka

Dec 8, 2020

While the declaration of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a global pandemic in Q1 – and its subsequent impact – resulted in a sharp decrease in deal volumes in the first and second quarters of 2020, deal volumes rebounded strongly in Q4. This article provides an overview of those trends as well as some of the most notable Canadian legal developments in public M&A in 2020.

COVID-19 market and deal term impacts

COVID-19 had a profound impact on Canadian M&A volumes and deal terms in 2020. It also led to several high-profile deal terminations and renegotiations. 

As of October 30, 2020, there were 40 announced acquisitions of Canadian public companies in 2020, as compared to 58 for the same period in 2019 according to Practical Law Canada. Deal volumes at the start of 2020 were slightly lower than in 2019. This was followed by a significant decline at the outset of the pandemic, with volumes recovering in the latter half of 2020, albeit not to 2019 levels...