Perspectives – Marc Cooper – December 2021

Four Things to Keep an Eye on in 2022
by CEO Marc S. Cooper

As 2021 comes to a close, there’s no shortage of key issues on corporate executives’ minds. Yet while much attention has been given to supply chain woes, inflation, and geopolitics – all for good reason – it’s worth remembering there are other things to consider as we close the books on one year and open them up for another. So, what are we watching?

  • Big Tech & social media regulation: This has become a top story from 2021 that is a rare common ground for members of Congress. Though it’s a nuanced and complex discussion, it’s fair to say that Big Tech will remain in the spotlight next year as consumers and regulators continue to push for change. Momentum has been building here and we expect things will boil over in the new year. With regulations up for debate, keep an eye on what’s on the docket to change, as well as how it will it change.
  • Metaverse: I hate to burst your bubble, but if you’re anxiously waiting for the metaverse to reshape every aspect of society, you’re going to be waiting for a while. Don’t get me wrong: the metaverse will drastically change how consumers and businesses conduct themselves, just as the internet did, but we are nowhere close to experiencing that as an everyday thing, no matter how much hype this story generates. Yes, there’ll be countless fits and starts as tech companies work to make the metaverse a true reality, but in the meantime, keep an eye on a resurgence in real-life experiences as consumers feel more comfortable engaging in public again. Vaccines are giving people the confidence to resume many of their pre-pandemic activities, and many of the companies who thrived during last year’s lockdowns (home fitness, video conferencing, etc.) are now dealing with a world that’s re-emerging from the comfort of their homes. Humans are social creatures who crave real-life interactions. That may not make for an exciting headline, but keep an eye on “In Real Life” activities next year.
  • Politics: We live in a hyper-political environment, and this will feel even more heightened as we inch closer towards the Midterms. Democrats scored some legislative victories this year, though not without some major turbulence that left voters feeling woozy, and many think they’ll have a hard time keeping control of the House. Sentiment changes fast so it’s hard to predict the outcome, but however this plays out, it’ll be a major story for sure.
  • Cybersecurity: Cyberattacks were a common story this year affecting companies, governments, and everything in between. It’s not just user data that’s in play, either. Hackers this year were able to impact major industries, including energy and agriculture, and parts of our national infrastructure may be vulnerable as hackers continue to employ sophisticated tactics. Government and military leaders are aware of this threat and are working hard to combat it, but they’re doing so in largely unchartered territory, and we don’t see this issue going away.

So, is that it? If only we were so lucky. While we don’t expect to see a repeat of 2021, we remain bullish on the M&A industry’s prospects in 2022 for many of the same reasons I’ve written about before. The markets are flush with capital, companies have low borrowing costs, the stock market has reached – and in some cases, exceeded – pre-pandemic levels, the IPO engine continues to hum along and private equity investors are looking to deploy a historic level of cash.

Each new year brings both challenges and opportunities and we’re excited to ring in 2022 and hit the ground running. To all of our clients, partners, colleagues, and friends, I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

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