Last week over 120 M&A professionals representing 34 different countries converged in Stockholm at IMAP’s Fall Conference. A coveted event on the annual calendar, the three-day conference, hosted by IMAP Sweden, was even more special this year as it was the setting for IMAP’s 50th anniversary celebration.
As always, there was a jam-packed agenda and day-one kicked off with a symposium and cocktails for IMAP partners and select IMAP clients. Keynote speaker, Kjell Enhager, Sweden’s top sought-after leadership and mental training expert, warmed and challenged the audience in his interactive session, sharing several proprietary and innovative methods of finding solutions in difficult situations – all of which highly applicable for our M&A advisors faced with challenging situations on a day-to-day basis in an ever-changing economy.
Dedicated to shared learnings. IMAP partners and teams, including Mick Ohira, DealHaus – IMAP Denmark, Karri Vuori, IMAP UK, Jacky Wang, IMAP China and Steve Maddox, Falls River Group, IMAP USA, and John Ferrara, Capstone Partners – IMAP USA discussed their local M&A landscapes and approach to current M&A market challenges and opportunities moving into 2024.
With AI making inroads into M&A in almost all our 49 countries, Gábor Szendrői, Concorde MB Partners - IMAP Hungary, Alejandre Salvidar, IMAP HQ Corporate Office, Karri Vuori, IMAP UK, and Jeffrey Smith, Pinnacle – IMAP Japan tackled the subject of AI and it’s current and future role in M&A, especially the use of Big Data and the valuable data that IMAP has at its fingertips due to the amount of client transactions closed every year.
Krisztián Orbán, Oriens, an esteemed friend and regular guest speaker at IMAP conferences held a session looking at the current geopolitical situation and what to expect over the coming months.
Later, Jörgen Larsson, IMAP Sweden, Michael Knoll, IMAP Germany, Ashutosh Maheshvari, IMAP India, Fernando Cabos, IMAP Albia Capital – IMAP Spain, and Yogi Punjabi, Capstone Partners – IMAP USA took a deep dive into some of their recent client success stories, sharing their key learnings and takeaways.
The day closed with a private museum tour and gala dinner at the spectacular Vasa Museum.
Day three marked the final day of IMAP’s Fall Conference in Stockholm – and what a day it was!
IMAP boasts a nearly 60-strong global marketing team and kicking-off Saturday’s session, an all-female panel, Claire Smedley and Kirsten, Haack, IMAP HQ Corporate Office, Vera Sinjutina, IMAP Germany, Joyce Rijnders, IMAP Netherlands, Irache Estebaranz, IMAP Albia Capital – IMAP Spain, and Sarah Doherty, Capstone Partners – IMAP USA, took to the stage to discuss the important subject of lead generation and the power of marketing. Emphasizing the importance of understanding the customer journey and ensuring we don’t forget the human side of M&A they tackled the subject of growth marketing and why content and analytics are critical in devising a successful lead gen strategy. The team also shared a sneak peak of IMAP’s highly anticipated and soon to launch new website.
We were lucky enough to be accompanied by several guests including Piyush Maheshvari and Sandeep Agrawal from the Aditya Birla Group in India who shared insights into their company’s long and exponential M&A journey and plans for future growth. As well as Sanjay Mankani from Fortes Education who took a deep dive into the Education sector in the UAE, looking at areas for potential acquisitions and expansion.
Over the course of the conference, expectations for dealmaking activity over the next quarter was of course the main topic of discussion, with the IMAP partners sharing confidence that despite a decline in activity in the earlier half of the year, the M&A market still holds potential for future growth and resurgence, with several key takeaways:
- M&A and debt markets remain active with some regions showing new records
- High-quality, stable businesses attracting interest over carveouts or complex group structures
- Acquisition-led growth favored over slow organic growth by large sector leaders with strong balance sheets
- PE funds will continue to drive M&A activity in a bid to spend the high levels of dry powder accumulated
- Distressed M&A or divestitures of divisions expected to increase
- Higher levels of inbound M&A expected, especially in markets such as Japan
- Deals are taking longer, with the average time from LOI to SPA having almost doubles in some cases
- While AI is ever more prevalent in M&A, there is no substitute, yet, to high quality relationship-based deal advice from advisors with decades of experience and learning