M&A East Checks Deal Flow's Pulse

Keynote speakers include CNN's Fareed Zakaria, adviser Erik Peterson and Navy SEAL Robert O'Neill

East coast dealmakers will head to the city of brotherly love in October for ACG Philadelphia's M&A East Conference.

The conference, held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Oct. 8 to Oct. 9, will feature three keynote speakers, a new format for its private equity marketplace event and a golf outing.

ACG members generally come into town from the east coast, from Boston to Charlotte, N.C. Last year, the event drew about 1,300 dealmakers.

"Dealflow has been very light this year, pretty much across many industries," says Christian Bullitt, of the private equity firm LLR Partners and a board member of ACG Philadelphia. "Every conversation I have with folks from other private equity funds is: 'Are you guys seeing any deals, because we're not.'"

"There are indications that it is starting to pick up, so by the time the conference rolls around it'll be interesting to gauge the pulse as to whether there's going to be a spate of deals that get done before the end of the year," Bullitt says.

Delivering the keynote addresses are Fareed Zakaria, CNN host, Time Magazine editor-at-large and Washington Post columnist; Erik Peterson, a professional adviser; and Robert O'Neill, a Navy SEAL.

"Fareed will be very interesting to hear, especially his thoughts on what is going on with Egypt, as that changes daily. You'll get to see a real SEAL team member speak, that's pretty cool. And Erik Peterson - he's just a forward thinker," says Bullitt.

When dealmakers get to Philadelphia they will be able to sip cocktails while networking with private equity firms at the combined private equity marketplace and reception, new this year. The reception will take place in the historic Train Shed in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

M&A East will include DealSource, where private equity firms can meet with investment banks and limited partners in pre-scheduled meetings. The conference also includes a workshop for corporate buyers, breakout panel sessions on portfolio company distress and the role of family offices. Conference attendees will also be golfing at the Riverton Country Club in Cinnaminson, N.J., on Oct. 8.

"What I like about M&A East is that it offers a broad range of events and topics; that way it appeals to a lot of different people," says Jan Monster, the senior director of corporate development for Teleflex Inc. Monster is on the steering committee for M&A East, helping to organize the conference.

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