There appears to be plenty of M&A activity around - both very large deals and in the SME arena - but what has been the impact of COVID and the disruption it has created to both profits and cash flows? Well rather than using EBITDA as a valuation method there is a new version - EBITDAC where the C relates to COVID 19. Basically buyers are looking at the sustainability of the business and how quickly it will bounce back (this is where having a strong balalnce sheet, cash and access to funding lines is all important) - so looking acrosss the income lines to ensure that they are recurring and that the management team has reacted well and has been proactive to protect the business. Whilst sellers want cash on day one, the way to bridge any value gap (as the business gets back to 'normal') is to be pragmatic and accept that an element will have to be deferred. The deferred element can be linked to key performance measures which could include cash generation as well as profit/contract renewals/top line growth etc wich will give clear visibility to all parties. At this stage in the cycle the balance sheets of the banks are getting 'full' - bounce back loans and CIBLs have used up capital - and the risk dial has been turned up as they have been making general bad loss provisions as they anticipate higher defaults as some businesses fail to recover. The impact of that will be that banks will be more cautious of providing higher levels of debt for acquisitions - vendor finance is one way of dealing with that. Bottom line its time to be realistic - but if you have planned your exit and have a sustainable business there will be a buyer out there.