By Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch
Steve Mack/Everett Collection
‘It’s going to be brutal. There’s no way to sugarcoat it at all.’
That is outspoken billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has been increasingly visible as the National Basketball Association has been temporarily suspended due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuban, speaking with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, explained why he thought the recovery from the economic fallout wrought by the illness caused by a novel coronavirus strain could be a long and ugly one for the average American and small businesses in particular.
“It’s going to be brutal. There’s no way to sugarcoat it at all. And when we get to the other side, companies are going to be operating differently,” Cuban said on the business network.
The entrepreneur, who boasts a net worth of $4.3 billion, according to Forbes , says that challenges for businesses are manifold and include additional costs that will be incurred to sanitize and retrofit spaces as nearly shutdown economies attempt to reboot after a virus-imposed hibernation.
“Companies are going to have to be agile … Companies are going to have to build from the bottom up,” Cuban said.
The “Shark Tank” star said he remains confident that some normalcy will return in two to three years but predicts that investors and business owners will need to endure some pain to get to the other side.
His comments came as Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was quoted in the Washington Post as saying in an interview published on Tuesday that “there’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through.”
The deadly contagion that was first identified late last year in Wuhan, China, has, infected more than 2.6 million people globally and killed about 179,000, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, as of Wednesday morning.
On Thursday, investors and others will be watching for a House vote on a nearly $500 billion aid package for small businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic, after the Senate passed the measure on Tuesday.
The passage of the bill and the possibility of restarting stalled economies may be conferring some optimism on markets, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.16% , the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.41% and the Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.99% all closing sharply higher Wednesday.
That said, Cuban believes that small businesses may require at least a third installment of funds to operate through the crisis, and he is looking to invest in companies that sit outside the criteria for obtaining government-backed loans.
“We haven’t talked about those companies that are 501 and up. They are suffering the most,” he said, referring to language that stipulates that businesses need to have 500 or fewer employees to qualify for the small-business recovery funding.