The Globe and Mail reports in its Friday, March 6, edition that fears over the coronavirus and COVID-19 epidemic are threatening to disrupt corporate merger and acquisition activity, with danger to deals increasing the longer the crisis drags on.
The Globe's Jeffrey Jones and Mark Rendell write that market turmoil, alongside fears of widespread economic disruption, is making it hard for buyers to assess the value of companies' shares in takeover deals, and is making sellers hesitate to proceed while valuations are depressed.
On Thursday, shares in Cineplex sank $2.62 to close at $29.86, after a short-seller speculated its takeover by Cineworld Group could fall apart or be repriced.
There is worry that moviegoers will avoid public events because of coronavirus fears, potentially making the $34-a-share buyout price -- approved by shareholders of both companies -- too steep. The companies did not comment on the speculation.
With Cineworld and Cineplex, the agreement signed in December specifically excludes "outbreaks of illness or other acts of God" from its definition of a material adverse effect, meaning the outbreak of coronavirus alone cannot be used to terminate the transaction.
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