These are unprecedented – and incredibly uncertain
– times. The coronavirus, or Covid-19, has rapidly
become impossible to ignore.
The news keeps coming thick and fast as governments announce
forced social distancing measures, the closure of non-essential
businesses, event and flight cancellations and, in an
increasing number of cases across Europe, complete societal
Despite positive, proactive moves from central banks
including the US Federal Reserve, circuit breakers have been
hit multiple times over the past week as stock markets spiral
downwards. Short-selling restrictions have come into place
across Europe as the continent quickly emerges as the epicentre
of the pandemic: regulators in the UK, Italy, Spain and France
have all introduced temporary limits on the practice for the
second time this week as equity markets suffer major
The implications for businesses, working practices,
financial markets and society have already been severe
– and the situation is constantly developing.
First things first – working practices have already
changed significantly, with the growing belief that things may
never quite go back to how they were before. With this in mind
the IFLR team is offering its best tips and tricks for working
remotely, whether it's your first time or you're a seasoned
The article is free to read here.
With reporters in London, New York and Hong Kong SAR, IFLR
and our sister publication Practice Insight have
been covering coronavirus developments for some weeks now.
In Practice Insight, we can reveal that the International
Capital Market Association and the International Securities
Lending Association have written to the European Securities and
Markets Authority requesting a delay to implementation of the
Securities Financing Transactions Regulation (SFTR).
Read the full piece here – and if you
don’t have a subscription to Practice Insight,
take a free trial or get in touch
with us to arrange access.
We also looked at the way the coronavirus seems to have
revealed flaws in post-crisis regulatory reforms –
from quantitative easing-linked asset bubbles to inadequate
liquidity safeguards – this unprecedented pandemic has
uncovered a range of cracks in the new normal.
Where it began
Our coverage started with
Asia reporter Karry Lai’s piece in mid-February on
how force majeure certificates – of which
approximately 5,600 worth around $72.5 billion have now been
issued – were aiding Chinese businesses suffering from
the immediate impact of manufacturing delays and store
closures. Lawyers warned that these clauses, which are in
normal times largely expected to go unused, had not been
properly negotiated into contracts.
Read the full piece here.
EMEA reporter Jimmie Franklin considered the coronavirus
through the lens of China’s new foreign investment
reporting in mid-February that various deals, including
Japanese restaurant chain Daikiya’s planned Hong
Kong SAR IPO, had already been pulled.
Read more here.
Looking back on those pieces it’s clear that
the vast majority underestimated the impact globalisation would
have on what seemed like a relatively easily containable
epidemic. As sources said just weeks ago, "SARS knocked an
estimated one percent off of China’s growth rate,
with a much more limited impact globally".
We then looked at the range of
Chinese companies issuing anti-epidemic bonds after the
government offered quick approval processes to aid fundraising
to help contain the virus. Asset managers were sceptical that
the funds would definitely be used for Covid-19 emergency
efforts given the lack of scrutiny.
Read the full story here.
Covid-19 goes global
On the capital markets side,
Baker McKenzie lawyers from across the globe outlined the
moves companies and exchanges have already made to mitigate the
economic impact. From contractual implications for securities
offerings to the immediate practical impact – such as
virtual AGMs –
it’s all here.
Meanwhile lawyers from Akin Gump have the corporate
transactions side covered
with this piece reviewing supply and demand, travel and
logistics, coronavirus-specific deals, and parallels with
previous major crises. As they explain, Total and Royal Dutch
Shell have already publicly rejected those aforementioned
force majeure notices from the Chinese National
Offshore Oil Corporation – raising a potential issue
for the other 5,600 or so issuances.
Americas editor John Crabb
reports on the latest moves from the Committee on Foreign
Investment in the US (Cfius), which has introduced an e-filing
system in a direct response to the ongoing health crisis.
Focus on Europe
European M&A market has already stalled, with fears
that transactions close to the finishing line will also be
affected. Bob Bartell, global head of corporate finance at
Duff & Phelps, tells us that 99.9% of M&A practitioners
are waiting for further certainty before proceeding with
Meanwhile Italian advisor
Antonio Lanotte digs deep into the government's maxi
anti-coronavirus decree: a €25 billion package
announced on March 16 to help protect businesses and families
from the economic repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Read the full analysis here.
We will continue to keep this page updated with further
developments as and when they come.
All of our coronavirus-related content is here
– and will be continually updated:
Force majeure clauses provide coronavirus relief for
Companies remain cautious about entering
Corporates rush to issue coronavirus
Coronavirus under the capital markets
APAC Spring news roundup: In the shadows of the
Coronavirus reveals flaws in post-crisis
reforms (Practice Insight)
How coronavirus affects global corporate
Coronavirus could cause SFTR delay
Cfius filing fee a hindrance but unlikely to curb deal
Covid-19: M&A market stalls amid
The Italian treatment: the decree to fight
Remote working: tips, tricks and anecdotes from the IFLR
PRIMER: US market circuit
Why MAC clauses are no Covid-19 silver
UK’s Covid-19 business support
leads to confusion
Inside NYSE's response to the Covid-19