Contributed by: Casey Boggs
New Orleans, Louisiana marked the location of the 2016 ACG Intergrowth conference—hosting more than 2,000 middle-market dealmakers for three days of, well, dealmaking. With 57 ACG chapters (representing 14,500 members) present, there were plenty of opportunities to network—even for those non-dealmakers like me.
As the lone ACG Portland ambassador at Intergrowth, my objective in attending was to 1) connect with other ACG members and dealmakers, 2) assess and report back on the latest trends and issues in the middle-market, and 3) enjoy the sights, sounds and eats of N’awlins.
The overarching theme for this year’s conference centered around where lending is heading, M&A activity and strategy, and the evolution of private equity (PE). The buzz surrounding Intergrowth 2016 also focused a lot around the political landscape and the upcoming elections.
I was fortunate to have a front seat (yes, I was “that guy” who rushed in early to get a close seat) to the keynote presentation with speakers David Axelrod (former senior advisor to President Obama), Chuck Todd (Host of Meet the Press) and Ana Navarro (political analyst for CNN and CNN En Español).
No doubt that the “Clinton/Trump” debate is inevitable; the speakers spent the majority of their 0:45 minutes discussing what the country and world might look like if either of the candidates were to be elected. Specifically, the speakers attempted to translate how these candidates might affect the economic well-being and the private equity market. I didn’t get a clear consensus on the where each presenter stood on the topic, but it was clear that “economic anxiety is the fuel for both political campaigns.”
Other breakout sessions were very niche in focus, including a look at global capital availability, last year’s (certainly not the beginning of 2016!) M&A success and an interesting panel on the PE landscape. A bit too much “inside baseball talk” to offer any real valuable analysis on my end. However, I did get a relatively favorable (fairly bullish) impression that M&A activity will be good for the remainder of 2016. Although, M&A was relatively slow in Q1 2016.
Networking and connecting is clearly the name of the game at ACG Intergrowth. If you’re not on one side or the other on a deal—you’re a service provider offering something of value to the deal. While many areas of professional and corporate growth strategies were not relevant to bring back to my brethren of Portland business leaders, if you’re a “player” in the PE world or an M&A dealmaker, ACG Intergrowth is a MUST conference to attend. The access to intel and connections to be made is worth the price of admission.
Casey Boggs is an ACGPortland Board Member, immediate Past-President and serves on the Chapter’s Sponsorships Committee. He is the founder and President of LT Public Relations. Read more from Casey at LT Public Relations’ blog.