Given the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, financially distressed firms may end up with fewer opportunities to access capital, and at some point some may need to consider whether to reorganize, liquidate, or sell the business. Even those that survive may not remain as relevant to the competitive dynamic as they once were. A company faced with financial ruin, plummeting demand, or an inability to pivot to meet changing demand arising from this crisis may decide that it is unlikely to rebound. In such a case, failing or structurally weakened companies may see a merger as their lifeline, and as is often the case, a competitor may have the superior offer among proposed buyers. “The fact is, a relentless, growing competitor is frequently the most logical buyer of a business that is declining.” Although a strategic merger with a competitor may seem like a failing or weakened company’s best alternative, competitors carry a heavy evidentiary burden to justify it.
The Distressed Business Standard in Times of Crisis