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  • No-handshake deals

    Covid-19 has disrupted dealmaking, but could also unleash a wave of mergers and acquisitions. Larger well-capitalized players and private-equity groups will likely use the opportunity to grab up vulnerable companies at bargain prices.

    The scenario seems especially likely in retail. A report from McKinsey and Business of Fashion estimates 34% of publicly traded fashion companies in Europe and North America were showing signs of financial distress before the pandemic. With two or three months of store closures, it said, that number could rise above 80%.

    Private equity firms have in recent years made some high-profile purchases, such as Carlyle Group buying half of streetwear powerhouse Supreme in 2017. As of last June, PE had nearly $1.5 trillion in ready capital at its disposal.

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  • India charts a post-pandemic future

    The world’s dependence on China poses serious risks for the global economy. In this week’s field guide (✦ Quartz member exclusive), we look at how that dependence is being reshaped by the pandemic. In India, for example, the shift could be a blessing in disguise:

    🏃🏾‍♂️India has a rare chance to catch up with China. India’s cheap labor base makes it a potential alternative to the world’s preeminent factory. But India remains miles behind China on several important factors (✦).

    😷 The Indian fashion industry is pivoting to PPE. From couture labels to indie brands, what started as a stop-gap measure for struggling companies is becoming a sustainable industry (✦).

    ✈️ Plane travel remains a pain point. Stepping up safety measures against Covid-19 adds an additional burden to an industry already experiencing rising costs and slumping ridership.

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