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A Review of Q3, 2020

Coming to Terms with a “New Normal”

2020 has been a year to remember. Industries have adapted to changing consumer habits, markets have fluctuated, and people have spent countless hours on Zoom (ZM). Over the next week, we’ll break down important events that took place during each quarter of the year. Today, we’re taking a look at Q3 of 2020.

During the first two quarters of the year the world reeled as a pandemic and a global recession unfolded. The third quarter of the year was a time of coming to terms with a “new normal” of face masks, outdoor dining, and social distancing. In June a number of cities and states relaxed lockdown measures as COVID-19 cases ticked downward. Then cases began to climb again, and many reopening plans were put on hold.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and IPOs

Despite struggles with COVID-19 rates across the country, there was a surge in IPOs as well as mergers and acquisitions. Snowflake (SNOW), the cloud-based data warehousing company, and Palantir (PLTR), the data analytics company were two important names making their public debuts in the third quarter. The IPO frenzy then continued through Q4.

There was also a flurry of M&A activity. Typically M&A activity accelerates after a period of economic contraction,, but the spike last quarter was far higher than what was seen after the 2008 financial crisis and other periods of downturn. Companies were wary of volatility leading up to the presidential election in November and concerned about higher capital gains taxes under a Biden presidency, so many were rushing to ink deals ahead of November 3. These M&A deals included Verizon’s (VZ) acquisition of the Mexican phone company Tracfone for $6.25 billion, and Gilead Science’s (GILD) purchase of Immunomedics for $21 billion.

A Back-to-School Season for the History Books

Q3 of 2020 will also be remembered for an unprecedented back-to-school season. When schools across the country shuttered in March to curb the spread of COVID-19, many expected to be back in classrooms by the fall. HBut by the end of the summer, many educational institutions from grade schools to universities decided to continue with remote learning for the fall semester. Others used a hybrid model of some in-person learning and some online learning, while others returned to school equipped with face masks and hand sanitizer.

This unusual school year has had a significant impact on the lives of working parents, college town economies, and the long-term future of students. One study showed that the lost learning time as a result of the pandemic could cost the US economy $14 trillion and $28 trillion in the long run. Despite a myriad of challenges, millions of teachers, students, and parents stepped up and made the best of a strange and challenging situation.

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