Almost overnight, the coronavirus pandemic dramatically reshaped the business landscape in which sponsors and investors operated. Both were forced to rapidly shore up existing funds and investments, while also working to take advantage of opportunities arising in the new environment. Legal and compliance were caught in the middle, however, as they were called on to quickly assess the pros, cons and legal ramifications of different ways to pivot strategies. A recent Private Equity Law Report webinar
explored lessons learned from the pandemic that can be carried forward to successfully prepare sponsors and investors for the next market disruption. The discussion was moderated by Rorie A. Norton, Editor of the Private Equity Law Report, and featured Morgan Lewis partner Christopher J. Dlutowski and Skadden partner John M. Caccia. This first article in a two-part series highlights how the pandemic exposed constraints in sponsors’ investment strategies; pre-considerations to weigh when pivoting investment strategies; and short-term options for modifying existing fund vehicles to pursue opportunities. The second article
will examine how sponsors and investors can hastily create vehicles in the short term to pursue outside opportunities, as well as pre-planning that can facilitate opportunism in future market dislocations. For coverage of previous PELR webinars, see “The Growth of Preferred Equity: Features of the Hybrid Debt/Equity Solution and Its Use for Fund Level Liquidity (Part One of Two)
” (Dec. 1, 2020); and “PELR Webinar Explores Legal and Compliance Employment Trends, Including Compensation, Staffing, Diversity and the Pandemic’s Impact
” (Nov. 17, 2020).