Part 1 of this series explained the changed landscape of M&A due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and discussed five areas where the pandemic has affected the terms of M&A transactions. In this segment, we will discuss practical considerations for entities who are contemplating a sale, whether during or after the pandemic.
- Attend to the Details. The operations of many healthcare practices impacted by the pandemic have rightly turned to focus on the delivery services. But, now is the time to make sure that the details of business are in order. As compliance is frequently a starting place for buyers, sellers should thoroughly review the company’s compliance efforts and systems, and update such compliance programs as needed. Intellectual property is sometimes an afterthought, but the pandemic may present unique opportunities for the pursuit of intellectual property protection or the development of new intellectual property. This is also a good time to ensure that corporate formalities are observed and the company’s books and records are in order. Prospective sellers should examine their existing organization and operations and make adjustments as needed in an effort to be ready for sale. Prioritizing the details of the business in advance of a sale pays dividends during the due diligence process.
- Consider CARES Act Relief. From the outset of any potential transaction, sellers should consider the impact that the acquisition may have on any CARES Act relief the seller has received or is seeking. Buyers will be paying particular attention to these issues, and both parties should take care to structure any transaction in a way that does not inadvertently alter the seller’s eligibility status or violate any program requirements. There are a number of certifications borrowers must make during the application and forgiveness process, including certifications related to the use of funds, the borrower’s organizational structure, and the information provided to support the forgiveness application. Inaccurate certifications are subject to criminal and civil fraud claims. Sellers who have received PPP loans should consider how a potential transaction effects the Seller’s ability to participate in PPP loan forgiveness. Sellers should thoroughly review their loan documents for provisions related to changes of ownership or control, which provisions are usually broadly defined. Typically, the seller will need to obtain the consent of the lender before entering into any transaction that results in a change of control.
- Be Creative. Many businesses that have been successful in the pandemic have pivoted using existing products or service offerings in a new way. From an M&A perspective, those new lines of business may become spin-off candidates and the source of joint ventures in the future. Buyers will be looking for sellers that are creative and have sought new markets even in the face of the pandemic.
- Ready Your Team. The pandemic has unfortunately seen a massive loss of employment. While the rate of unemployment claims is slowing, there are still significant opportunities to bring on new talent to your organization to lead the way in the post-pandemic landscape. Sellers should retain knowledgeable consultants and advisors, such as legal counsel and accounts.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the M&A market. However, the pandemic also presents an opportunity for prospective sellers to improve their position for a future M&A sale. If you have any questions regarding any M&A issues, the business transactions team at Milligan Lawless is here to assist. Please contact Steve Lawrence at 602-792-3635 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Miranda Preston at 602-792-3511 or email@example.com.
 The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) was enacted on March 27, 2020 and created the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), a forgivable small business loan program; and authorized additional funding for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, among other features.
 Additional information from Milligan Lawless on the CARES Act and PPP is available here: The CARES Act – Paycheck Protection Program Loan (Mar. 28, 2020); Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness (Mar. 29, 2020); Update on CARES Act: SBA Implements Interim Final Rule for Paycheck Protection Program Loans (Apr. 3, 2020); CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Distributions (Apr. 14, 2020); Update on CARES Act Provider Relief Fund General Distributions (Apr. 30, 2020); and Congress Passes Favorable Amendments to the Payroll Protection Program (Jun. 5, 2020).