The season for M&A may soon be upon us. The pandemic has squeezed many businesses and made funding harder to get. We’ve already seen Postmates sell to Uber and Grubhub sell to Europe’s Just Eat Takeaway, accelerating a long-awaited consolidation of the food-delivery market. Meanwhile, EW Scripps, grappling with a downturn in advertising, sold a high-growth business—podcasting firm Stitcher—to raise badly needed cash.
Many more deals are possible. One of the most unlikely just a few weeks ago, ByteDance selling TikTok, now seems quite possible. It’s also easy to imagine Jeffrey Katzenberg throwing in the towel and trying to sell Quibi, his short-video app designed for phones. The pandemic and the intensely crowded streaming market have marred Quibi’s launch. The challenge for this kind of high-profile consumer internet firm will be on the buyer side: The antitrust scrutiny already focused on big tech firms like Facebook, Amazon or Apple likely limits their ability to make big acquisitions.