Dealmakers will convene in New Orleans in May for InterGrowth 2016, where the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) is “changing the pace and venue and spicing things up Cajun-style,” says CEO Gary LaBranche. The presidential campaign and the technology environment are expected to take center stage.
InterGrowth is ACG’s premium annual event for middle-market dealmakers, hosted at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans from May 2-4, the first time NOLA plays host to the conference.
The conference kicks off at The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. ACG Capital Connection marks the official opening ceremony for InterGrowth. The networking event offers opportunities to meet and mingle with 2,000 expected dealmakers.
In a presidential election year, political discussion will play a role. Among the scheduled speakers are: David Axelrod, who served formerly as a senior adviser to President Barack Obama and now appears as a senior political commentator on CNN; and Ana Navarro, a republican strategist who has advised Sen. John McCain (R: AZ) and Gov. Jeb Bush (R: FL), and also appears on CNN, as well as CNN Espanol.
“We will have a panel called “Political Pundits Debate the 2016 Election”, which will be pretty interesting for anyone who has been watching the presidential primaries,” says LaBranche. “By the first week of May, things will be different, and it will be interesting to hear their view on the general election.”
Technology is among the other topics under discussion. Don’t miss: From Hal to Now: The Future of AI, Robotics and Biotech, inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The talk features Neil Jacobstein and Raymond McCauley, professors at Silicon Valley think tank, Singularity University. The duo will explore the latest—and the future–technology and the effect this will have on several industries. Technological advances are expected to be a driving force for dealmaking this year. During 2015, deals in robotics M&A included Sealed Air Corp.’s (NYSE: SEE) August purchase of French company B+ Equipment, a maker of automated packaging equipment; Japan’s Omron Corp. acquisition of Adept Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: ADEP), which manufactures mobile robots used to make packaging processes quicker; and Teradyne Inc.’s (NYSE: TER) acquisition of Universal Robots, which supplies robots to work alongside manufacturing workers.
“We have the political side, which is here and now, and we wanted to balance it with something in the area of technology and going from the present to the future in tech,” LaBranche says.
Speaking of technology, for those who can’t attend the event in person, ACG has you covered with its new offering, Middle-Market Insights Theater, which features hour-long broadcasts, live from the conference, covering topics such as lending and private equity.
“This is another very cool and new experience for people at InterGrowth and those who can’t attend,” says LaBranche. “There will be three back-to-back livestreamed sessions put together by official sponsors Duane Morris LLP, Grant Thornton LLP and Merrill Corporation.”
Returning this year is the InterGrowth Conference App, sponsored by Charlotte, North Carolina-based accounting firm DHG and powered by M&A, private equity and venture capital data provider PitchBook. Originally launched in 2015, the updated app allows dealmakers to arrange meetings with other attendees.
InterGrowth also offers conference-goers opportunities to participate in ACG’s golf and tennis tournaments, 5K run and yoga events. And when not attending panels and networking, attendees can take in New Orleans’ historic sites, Cajun cuisine and culture. The year 2015 marked the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina for New Orleans, a category three storm that left more than 1,500 people dead when the city’s levees failed, resulting in catastrophic flooding. With more than 80 percent of New Orleans affected, the city continues to rebuild. National and local organizations, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and celebrities such as NOLA native Harry Connick, Jr. and Brad Pitt have all taken part in the efforts to restore New Orleans.