Reproduced from PricewaterhouseCoopers; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus-induced recession led to a decline in deals during the first half of the year, but global firms are quickly coming off of the sidelines and setting in motion major changes to their business strategy, according to a new research from PwC.

Why it matters: Business leaders are laying out the blueprint for the future of commerce in the U.S. and around the world right now and trends are starting to emerge.

What happened: Deal activity in the second quarter saw the largest year-over-year decline since the dot-com recession in 2001.

  • But volumes have risen every month since May and mega deals already have been announced in July, including Berkshire Hathaway’s nearly $10 billion acquisition of Dominion Energy and semiconductor maker Analog Devices’ plans to buy rival Maxim Integrated Products for more than $20 billion.

The big picture: Tech is driving the market and size is incredibly important, as big companies are expected to begin making significant investments and are embracing newer technologies earlier than in previous cycles, PwC notes.

What they're saying: "Through the rest of 2020, we expect private equity to become even more active. As deal processes renew and investors put $2.6 trillion to work, private equity deal volume likely will return to its long-term average of about 20% to 25% of total US deal volume."

  • "The same pattern is emerging with respect to well-capitalized corporate investors, especially in the tech sector."

The intrigue: PwC highlights an important characteristic of this recession — in previous downturns the first step following the recession was that companies with sufficient resources would acquire ailing competitors. This was generally followed by a period of transformational deals, in which companies tried to adapt their business models to the realities of the new business environment.

  • "In the current crisis, however, we are seeing both trends unfold in tandem."

What's next: "Looking ahead, tech companies will likely be among those driving M&A’s recovery, both as acquirers and as targets."

  • "With their outsized access to capital, many firms are well-positioned to make deals poised to reshape emerging sectors."

Go deeper

A soaring Nasdaq is just one slice of the buy-anything market

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Nasdaq closed above 11,000 for the first time on Thursday, ending the session higher for the seventh time in a row and eighth session in nine. It has gained nearly 10% since July 1.

Why it matters: It's not just tech stocks that have rallied recently. Just about every asset class has jumped in the third quarter, including many that typically have negative or inverse correlations to each other.

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 20,158,258 — Total deaths: 738,063 — Total recoveries: 12,388,686Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 5,116,791 — Total deaths: 164,137 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. States: Florida reports another daily record for deaths State testing plans fall short of demand.
  4. Axios-Ipsos poll: 1 in 2 has a personal connection to COVID-19.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. 🏈 Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season due to coronavirus.

Big Ten postpones fall sports due to coronavirus

Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Big Ten announced Tuesday that it has voted to postpone its 2020 fall sports season, including football, due to risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, hoping instead to play in the spring.

Why it matters: The move from one of the most prominent conferences in college sports will almost certainly prompt other Power Five leagues to follow suit.