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Aggression pays off in times of crisis - AVCJ Forum

Going on the offensive is the best response to COVID-19 - taking advantage of market uncertainty to make new investments and help portfolio companies complete bolt-on acquisitions - the AVCJ Forum heard.

James Ahn, an Asia-based managing director at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) said 2020 had been the busiest in his firm's history, with $4 billion deployed across 10 deals.

“One lesson we learned from the 2008 crisis is to be aggressive. Some of our best returns came shortly after the global financial crisis,” said Ahn. ”You do need to have a defensive posture during COVID-19, but at the same time, if you have the capital and you have market-leading businesses, there is the opportunity to consolidate a lot of weaker competitors. ”

He added there were several situations in which CD&R had previously held discussions with companies to no avail. Then COVID-19 caused a fundamental shift in business prospects, rescue financing was required, and negotiations quickly resumed.

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