Mergermarket Private Equity Forum Austin 2024

Our Austin forum returns for a second year!

Four Seasons Hotel, Austin


08.15 - 08.55

Breakfast and registration

08:55 - 09:00

Chair's Opening Remarks

09.00 - 09.30

Keynote Fireside Chat

09.30 - 10.15

Opening panel- US private equity outlook- what to expect in 2025

According to Mergermarket, private equity dealmaking continues to be muted, with 522 deals worth US$178 million completed in 2024 so far this year. High interest rates, inflationary pressures and geopolitical uncertainties continue to impact fundraising, deployment and exit activity in the US. At the same time, with dealmakers facing increased pressure by their investors to put dry powder to work, it is predicted that the deal flow is expected to increase, coupled with an expectation of higher quality assets. Our panel of leading middle-market GPs will assess the opportunity set and offer their insights for the year ahead.

  • What are the main drivers of deal flow in the US?
  • Which sectors are faring well, and which are on a wait and see in terms of deals?
  • GP-LP dynamics: does the pendulum continue to swing in favour of LPs?
  • Are GPs tapping into new sources of capital?
  • Innovative solutions: are add-ons and continuation vehicles continuing to drive PE dealmaking?
10.15 - 10.45

Networking Break

10.45 - 11.30

The regional private equity fundraising landscape

Fundraising remains challenging for GPs as they tackle the macroeconomic and geopolitical environment over the past 24 months. Despite the challenges of 2023, however, buyout managers prevailed, and overall private equity AUM has increased. Whilst fundraising levels remain muted so far in 2024, capital continues to be committed to funds, and signs point towards more fundraising momentum building in 2024 relative to 2023. Our panel of GPs will share their experiences, success stories, lessons learned and predictions for the year ahead.

  • How has the fundraising market evolved in the past 12 months, and what challenges are GPs continuing to face? What are some success stories?
  • Has a slowdown in fundraising prompted more innovative capital raising strategies?
  • Are fund size targets becoming more conservative?
  • Will the flow of capital into co-investment funds continue as we head towards 2025?
11.30 - 12.15

Private equity exit outlook- where do we go from here?

The private equity exit market remains slow compared to 2021 highs, although activity in the first quarter of 2024 shows positive signs compared to 2023, with 282 deals worth USS71m compared to 270 deals with $62million the year before according to Mergermarket data. Whilst the exit market remains muted, however, GPs are increasingly turning towards strategies such as carve outs and divestitures to get out of a backlog of old investments in order to put new funds to work and return cash to their LPs. How will the exit market continue to look as we head into 2025? Our panel of experts will discuss:

  • Exit challenges- how will the deal backlog from 2023 impact activity in the year ahead?
  • Are GPs facing mounting pressure to return profits to their investors? How are LPs assessing the situation at hand and are they pulling back allocations? 
  • Getting creative- how are GPs finding alternative ways to keep capital flowing back to their LPs?
  • A potential IPO market bounceback- is the recovering IPO market a key solution to the exit problem?


12.15 - 13.15

Networking Lunch

13.15 - 13.45

Fireside chat: Private wealth – tapping into new pools of investor capital

Whilst GPs have historically focused their attention on institutional investors for capital, there has been a notable shift towards targeting private wealth as an alternative source of funding. This interactive fireside chat will feature a leading fund manager and their experiencing in navigating the complexities and challenges of the retail capital space.

13.45 - 14.30

Hot topic: private equity secondaries- what’s next?

Private equity secondaries, in particular GP-led secondaries and continuation vehicles have soared in popularity as LPs search for liquidity to rebalance portfolios and replace missed capital contributions. With the huge amount of secondary capital in the market, it is expected that this trend will continue to drive investment decisions and dealmaking in the next few years. Our panel of secondaries experts will take stock of the growing LP and GP secondary market in the US, and touch upon changing dynamics as more mainstream PE players enter the space.

  • What is fuelling the growth in GP-led secondaries regionally?  
  • How can secondary buyers continue to take advantage of market volatility?
  • Will secondaries buyouts continue to reach new highs in the upcoming year, and will it be impacted by M&A and IPOs potentially coming back?
  • As more private equity players embrace the secondaries market, what are some common pitfalls to be aware of?
14.30 - 15.15

Mid-market value creation and portfolio management

In the past two years have GPs have seen longer holding periods for their portfolio companies as well as increased competition for attractive, high-quality targets. It has therefore become increasingly essential for managers to focus on strategic and portfolio company operational improvements as a key driver of returns. This session will take a behind the scenes at how mid-market GPs are approaching value creation and portfolio management.

  • Whilst alpha-generating avenues remain challenging to access, how are GPs rewriting their value creation playbooks? What are some new value creation strategies GPs have place in order to improve performance?
  • Maximizing efficiencies through technology investments including machine learning and AI capabilities- how are GPs incorporating data and AI tools to enhance operations? Is AI a friend or a foe?
  • From supply-chain management to human capital- what value creation levers are operating partners focusing on as we head into 2024?
  • Are LPs becoming more focused on their managers’ operational capabilities?  
15.15 - 15.45

Networking Break

15.45 - 16.30

Sector focus: Technology and Generative AI

According to Mergermarket, the technology sector remains a dominant investment theme for the private equity industry, reaching a total deal value of US$184k between January- June 2024, compared to a total value of US$93k in 2023. In particular, private equity-backed investment surge in generative AI continues to capture attention, although aggressive valuations and heated competition from strategics have caused some GPs to tread cautiously. Our panel of technology GPs and experts will take stock of the market and assess the opportunity set for the year ahead.

  • What continues to be the main drivers of technology deal flow, from software to cloud computing?
  • How is private equity GPs competing with VCs and strategics for the best deals?
  • GenAI: where are we seeing real traction in the private equity space, and where are we a few years away from seeing impact?
  • What are some top technology investment trends that GPs predict will emerge in 2025?
16.30 - 17.15

Institutional investor panel – tackling shifting GP- LP dynamics

Given the current muted private equity dealmaking outlook, lack of distributions and continued macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties, it comes as no surprise that the GP-LP dynamic has shifted in the past few years. LPs are adjusting their strategies and becoming more selective with their managers, with some even choosing to reduce allocations to the asset class. Is this trend set to continue? Our panel of leading regional allocators will discuss their strategies and how they plan to navigate the year ahead.

  • How are LPs tackling manager selection in today’s environment, and how can GPs ensure that they shine amongst the crowd?
  • Given current market conditions, are LPs seeking better fund terms for themselves? Will bargaining power continue to swing in favour of LPs in the year ahead?
  • Has there been a shift away from private equity towards other asset classes, or do LPs still remain committed to the asset class?
  • What is the outlook for the year ahead?
17.15 - 18.00

Close of conference and networking drinks reception