Baker McKenzie's North America Private Equity Practice Chair, Michael Fieweger, was interviewed in a recent Ion Analytics Influencers Fireside Chat, where he shared his insights on the current state of the private equity industry.

Following seismic shifts in economic conditions and wildly increased regulatory burdens, the private equity sector has been facing unprecedented challenges. There is "even more change in the private equity markets and the regulatory regimes affecting those markets than…probably at any time since the financial crisis in 2010," according to Michael.

Change and uncertainty has created a lull in transaction activity for the past eighteen months. With markets beginning to stabilize, particularly with respect to interest rates, companies are adjusting and starting to feel optimistic. Because of a need to do deals, a need to have exits and a need to put dry powder to work, Michael says that his clients are looking to get back to dealmaking now. Moreover, he is seeing an "optimism that corporate buyers and sellers will be back in the market [which will create] a little more inventory," something that is necessary for a pick-up in activity to occur.

As dealmaking makes a comeback, Michael expects those efforts to face increased regulatory scrutiny, specifically related to fund level regulations, deal-making processes (including antitrust and foreign direct investment reviews) and regulations affecting portfolio companies’ operations. Despite those headwinds, Michael believes that with a proactive approach to regulatory compliance, as well as strategic foresight and a willingness to adapt, successful deals can be reached even in today's environment.

Watch the full interview here

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