I was struck today by the flow of news that continually pours over my desk from myriad sources, including from the NYTimes, the legal press, several data services, the SEC, as well as thinking from my clients who are investors or advisers. Those who know me understand that I do not give legal advice in this blog site, and surely not investment advice in any setting, but I confess I am having trouble understanding where the corporate/investment landscape is going.
Anecdotal input just today (I vouch for none of this data but set forth what I was told in person or by incoming information):
after a heady 2023 the stock markets are taking a pause (NYT) and are not a source of 2024 optimism (very sophisticated equity investor);
the stock markets are ahead of the Fed (NYT column);
DOJ increased enforcement cutting down on M&A activity (several sources today including but not limited to the super-market merger) [and see posts December 13 and 20]
M&A activity for 2023 was extremely low in volume at 19% below 2022 and 46% below 2021 (recognized data service to the legal community);
tightening standards for private investors to obtain accredited investor status (and thus be able to invest in typically better equity offerings) is being considered by the SEC [see post of December 15], which will harm private investment markets in parts of the US and prevent investors from exercising their own investment judgment with their own money (SEC Commissioner addressing the Commission’s Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee) ;
public company ownership and filing of IPOs is severely down, as from 2016 to mid-2022 the number of public US companies almost halved and rate of IPOs in last ten years is in substantial decline (same SEC Commissioner address).
The only news (at least that I found interesting enough to comment upon) which suggests uptick in deal pace was contained in my recent post on market pressure leading to a robust 2024 of sales of positions by PE firms [February 13].
Obviously there is a connection between corporate deal cycles and the stock market, and obviously I am not the right person to speculate on those mechanics; I just was struck by today’s input. As Sergeant Joe Friday used to say, “just the facts.”