Mergermarket Private Equity and M&A Forum Europe

In-person passes for this event are now sold out.

The Langham, London

  • Agenda keyboard_arrow_down
    08.30 - 09.00

    Registration and Breakfast

    09.35 - 10.25

    Panel: M&A deal leaders 2024 - the year M&A will rise up again?

    The combination of high interest and inflation saw M&A sink to the lowest level in ten years in 2023 to USD 2.9trn according to Mergermarket data. The M&A market is anticipated to ascend in 2024 and our panel of experts as will discuss the current deal environment, the themes driving M&A activity in 2024 so far, such as protectionism and supply chain challenges and how to successfully navigate a deal process in the current environment. Speakers will share their key successes in the process, structure, communication, governance, and overall strategic planning and execution stages. 

    • What do they expect of the M&A market in 2024 and has there been a shift in opportunities with types of deals they have been working on and the number of deals? 
    • Insights - which regions and sectors are encouraging for growth in the next six months?
    • What will the next six months hold for regional M&A, and is a recession/correction expected in the year ahead?
    • Are the mega deals back on the horizon? 
    • Are experts taking a more data driven approach to dealmaking?
    Sabina Pennings
    Sabina Pennings Managing Director, Rothschild & Co
    Timo Tauber
    Timo Tauber Managing Director, Viessmann Investment
    Gunvor Ellingsen
    Gunvor Ellingsen Head of Corporate M&A, Corporate Strategy and Dealmaking, Shell
    10.25 - 10.45

    Fireside chat: A year of change – navigating regulatory issues

    The regulatory landscape remains a significant challenge for deal teams, as agencies on both sides of the Atlantic have taken a stance against consolidation and have increasingly explored novel sets of concerns in their cases. In this session our experts will discuss how the regulatory landscape is evolving around M&A with a special focus on private equity concerns. Historically a safe topic – will that change?

    • Brexit effect: how does the CMA continue to shape its priorities post-EU?
    • The falling deal count: The number of reviews fell by 39% in 2023 – what trends did the CMA see last year, and what can we expect this year?
    • Finding the right remedy: What are the CMA’s views on remedies, and are they in flux following Activision/Microsoft? Are quasi-structural remedies now acceptable? What about remedy takers – who is the right buyer?
    • PE concerns: When are PE acquisitions triggering concerns? Are concerns limited to roll-up strategies or could other types of PE-led transactions come into focus?
    • Reforms to the Phase II process – tweaks or meaningful changes? What impacts will the changes to the Phase II procedures have on proceedings?
    • The CMA’s global remit: Is the agency more concerned by deals that impact national markets, or multi-jurisdictional deals where the UK is part of the picture?
    • To call-in, or to not call-in: How does the CMA decide what deals to call in, and are these criteria shifting?
    Ricardo Zimbron
    Ricardo Zimbron Director in Mergers, Competition and Markets Authority
    Jacob Parry
    Jacob Parry Chief Regulatory Correspondent of EMEA, PaRR
    10.45 - 11.15

    Networking coffee break

    11.15 - 12.05

    Panel: How should private equity engage in acquisitions of listed assets?

    This session will examine how should an acquirer engage with a target board. Speakers will also discuss what deals should boards get involved in and at what stage?

    • What are the key execution risks right now for PE bidders pursuing listed assets? In terms of financing and valuations and otherwise?
    • How does the takeover process, rationale and dynamic shift between full take-privates and acquisitions of carved-out business units? And what about integrating a target into an existing portfolio company vs buying an asset on a standalone basis?
    • What are some key dynamics to consider in the negotiations between a PE bidder and its stakeholders such as consortium partners, financiers, LPs, risk committee, board/management at a portfolio company running the acquisition etc? How may this affect the takeover and what are some pitfalls?
    • On the target side, what are some dynamics at play between the board and its management team plus its shareholders including potential activists? How may this affect the takeover and what are some pitfalls?
    12.05 - 12.55

    Panel: Activist investing in Europe

    Shareholder activism has been increasing in Europe in recent years, often focusing on M&A-related objectives like putting a company up for sale, pushing for adjusted terms in a transaction, etc. The panel will discuss updates and trends from current cases of activists and how supply chain disruptions, interest rates and ongoing geopolitical situations have made many firms targets, with growing focus on environmental, social and corporate governance causing concern. 

    • What are activist investors looking for in their targets? 
    • Are there any observable trends in terms of the type of objectives being pursued by activists in the current market environment? 
    • How can activism change the dynamics in the boardroom? 
    • What role do other stakeholders, such as long-only and passive investors, play for the success of activism? 
    • Where are activists having the most success these days – geographically, sector-wise, types of objectives? Areas that are best avoided? 
    12.55 - 13.55

    Networking lunch

    13.55 - 14.20

    On-stage interview: abrdn - Patria Investments case study

    Alistair Watson
    Alistair Watson Deputy Head of GPMS Private Equity, Patria Investments
    Rachel Lewis
    Rachel Lewis Private Equity Senior Reporter, Mergermarket
    14.20 - 15.05

    Panel: Financing and fundraising in Europe

    Although European buyout funds raised a historically impressive EUR 220bn in 2023, more than a third of this total was taken up by just four funds, and fundraising is continuing to be challenging due to tight liquidity amid low levels of distributions to LPs from exits. Meanwhile, sponsors are having to adjust to a much higher cost of capital on the debt side. With both equity and debt dynamics changing, our panellists will share their views on what this means for private equity dealmaking and fundraising.

    • What tools are available to sponsors to finance deals?
    • How can sponsors secure their capital structures in this environment?
    • How can sponsors get fundraises over the line in a tough market?
    • Is the private equity industry able to adjust to “higher for longer” interest rates?
    • What does all of this mean for the future of PE deal returns?
    Imogen Richards
    Imogen Richards Partner, Head of European Primaries, Pantheon
    Gabrielle Joseph
    Gabrielle Joseph Head of Due Diligence and Client Development, Rede Partners
    Harriet Matthews
    Harriet Matthews Funds Editor, MERGERMARKET
    15.05 - 15.30

    Afternoon networking coffee

    15.30 - 16.15

    Panel: UK private equity outlook – reasons to be cheerful?

    In 2023 PE exits and deal activity count in the UK market hit lows not seen for more than 10 years, with private equity practitioners contending with stubbornly high inflation and interest rates. But it’s not all doom and gloom – sponsors are bracing for a wave of pent-up deal and exit demand after a sluggish 2023. With a general election on the cards for 2024, our panellists will provide insights on how the market is shaping up.

    • What kind of dealflow can we expect to see in the UK private equity market this year?
    • Do the dynamics at play in the UK market make it more appealing for foreign GPs?
    • How might a change in government affect LP appetite for the UK?
    • What innovations and qualities should UK GPs demonstrate to win over LPs?
    Emily Hickley
    Emily Hickley Investment Director, Horizon Capital
    Grayden Reece-Smith
    Grayden Reece-Smith Principal, Aurelius UK
    Rachel Lewis
    Rachel Lewis Private Equity Senior Reporter, Mergermarket
    16.15 - 17.00

    Panel: LPs' perspectives on European opportunities – taking the long-term view?

    Given the recent economic uncertainties the way institutional investors approach the current investment environment is determined by several factors, including portfolio maturity, strategic objectives, and risk appetite. Our panel of investors will take stock of the current situation and discuss their strategies for the region.

    • What are the biggest issues impacting allocation decisions?
    • How is the LP-GP power dynamic evolving – what is the new role of an LP? 
    • What investment committees are asking that they weren’t a year ago and under what circumstances would LPs' back a first-time fund?
    • What are LPs' feelings on continuation funds and fund diversification?
    • Do LPs' prefer a pan-regional coverage or sector specialist managers?
    • How are LPs' responding to questions on ESG and portfolio valuations?
    • How do LPs' feel about liquidity solutions within their portfolios and managing liabilities in secondary transactions.
    17.00 - 18.00

    Dealmakers and Trailblazers Women's Networking Reception is Back!

    Join us for a networking reception that celebrates women in M&A and Private Equity! Hosted by Mergermarket and CMS, this event is open to all delegates of the conference.

    At Dealmakers and Trailblazers you'll have the opportunity to connect with other women in the industry face-to-face, exchange experiences and best practices, and learn about different sides of the business. It's a chance to make meaningful connections with other professionals in the same field.

    We believe that gender equity and inclusivity are important values, and we want to create a networking event that reflects that. That's why we're inviting everyone to join us, regardless of gender identity. Allies who support gender equality and inclusivity are welcome too! So come join us for an exciting evening of networking, learning, and inspiration!

    Bettina Kramer-Braun
    Bettina Kramer-Braun General Counsel, Deutsche Börse Group

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