The impacts of COVID-19 on the merger market are going to emerge behind what we're already seeing in the public markets, and the the full negative impact has not even come close to manifesting.
PE shops are hunkering down for the next ~6 months. Their portfolio companies are saddled with debt that they may be unable to pay, and sitting in credit markets with rapidly diminishing investor appetite. Strategics are doing the same thing and still just assessing where they fall on the spectrum of 'screwed' to 'extremely screwed'.
The likelihood of this being the single worst economic period for merger activity is far greater than 0%. I am at a prevalent boutique and just received word my pay is being reduced, candidly I would be surprised if the news gets better soon (within a month) and we're able to avoid lay-offs.
The deals that are going to get done in this period are either post-LOI or the opportunistic types that rarely have advisor involvement.
Outside of the opportunistic or necessity-driven deals where a banker is less likely to be involved (or to add value), why on earth would you buy a company right now? Why on earth would you sell yours?