Dealmakers headed to Philadelphia for M&A East can expect a few changes from the 2013 conference. Previously, the conference held a combined opening reception and private equity marketplace event.
"This year we decided to separate them to really maximize the networking time," says Jan Monster, senior director of corporate development at Teleflex Inc. and co-chair of M&A East.
The conference will also have more tables and chairs available for one-on-one meetings. "It's amazing how many conferences you go to and try to meet with someone, and there's nowhere to do it," says Christian Bullitt, the other co-chair of M&A East, and a principal at Philadelphia private equity firm LLR Partners.
Aside from the networking highlights, dealmakers will also hear a keynote speech from Billy Beane, general manager of baseball team the Oakland A's and subject of the popular book and more-popular movie "Moneyball."
Bullitt expects dealmakers to chat about the high cost of buying companies, private equity firms that are selling "everything that isn't nailed down and is halfway healthy" and what is keeping founder-owned businesses from selling in the current market. Monster is expecting to hear chatter about the credit markets.
Attendees can find each other through the conference's mobile application - M&A East 2014. The app provides information and search features that allow dealmakers to schedule meetings more easily. About 1,400 people are expected at the conference.
Dealmakers have the option to tee off at a daytime golf outing at the Riverton Country Club on Oct. 7. Day One includes DealSource, where private equity firms and investment banks to meet in pre-scheduled meetings, plus a corporate buyers' workshop aimed at corporate development officers and corporate executives. That workshop will be focused on negotiations.
"Given that negotiations are essential to what all of us do in daily life, particularly in M&A, that subject is always very well received," Monster says.
General Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, will give the opening keynote speech on Oct. 7. Following the keynote, dealmakers can head to the grand welcome reception, which is notably separate from the private equity marketplace, a shift from last year's programming.
Attendees for M&A East include dealmakers in the Boston to Washington D.C. corridor, plus a handful Midwest and west coast dealmakers. At last year's M&A East, private equity firms made up 28 percent of attendees.
Corporate buyers and exhibitors at the private equity marketplace and DealSource may also attend invitation-only dinner. The goal is to give the groups a few more hours of face time, Bullitt says.
Day Two's sessions include a breakfast keynote with Andy Kessler, the author of "Wall Street Meat," "Running Money" and "Eat People," plus panel discussions on exits and cyber threats. Dealmakers will also have the opportunity to visit the DealLounge for networking and meetings.
"People like to network, meet other people, hear what they're doing and compare notes," Monster says.
Mergers & Acquisitions is conducting video interviews at the conference. Look for assistant managing editor Anthony Noto and our video crew and check back later to watch the interviews.
For more on ACG fall conferences, see October Provides Plethora of Networking Opportunities.