As cross-border deals between the U.S. and China continue to proliferate, the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) is working to streamline the M&A process.
ACG chairman Charles Morton is leading the organization’s U.S. delegation to the 7th China International Private Equity Forum (CIPEF) at the Meijiang Convention Center in Tianjin. The event, which takes place from June 6 to June 13, is jointly sponsored by the ACG, the Tianjin People’s Government, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China.
CIPEF expects to bring together more than 5,000 dealmakers, including U.S. PE firms that are looking to invest in China and network with roughly 1,000 companies seeking foreign investment, says Morton. Attendees will also be given the opportunity to hear from Chinese government officials.
The event seeks to introduce Chinese dealmakers, who engage traditionally in a slower courting process, to Western-style deal-sourcing techniques. For example, forum attendees will participate in “speed dating” sessions, in which bankers and PE partners meet for 25 minutes.
Mergers & Acquisitions caught up with Morton before CIPEF to talk about how the event can benefit the middle market. The event is one of several moves the organization is making to expand around the world, including the new ACG EuroGrowth, November 12-13 in London.
How has the forum evolved over the years?
The forum organizers have become more sophisticated in planning the event. They have sent a delegation to ACG InterGrowth for more than seven years. They’re doing a good job of introducing China to many of the things that ACG has done to bring dealmakers together to facilitate transactions, such as Capital Connection, a golf tournament and the ACG DealSource "speed dating" sessions between western professionals and Chinese growth companies.
How have Chinese dealmakers responded to the “speed dating” concept?
Speed dating is something that we have taken from our U.S.-based events. While it may be unusual in the Chinese community, it is particularly efficient. As the economy in China continues to grow, one of the struggles is to find ways to increase efficiency.
Who are the most important speakers?
I am particularly eager to hear from Chinese government officials about their openness to cross- border investment and a recognition that such investment is helping to create opportunity for average citizens. Such commentary helps to build confidence among investors and to thereby create deals.
What does CIPEF mean to ACG?
It’s incredibly important because of the sheer volume of cross-border deals. One of the things we want to focus on is building the capabilities of ACG across the globe. We spent a lot of time and effort developing chapters in China, and we now have two active groups — one in Beijing and one in Shanghai. This collaboration with Tianjin shows a maturing relationship and reflects ACG’s broader goal of growing internationally.