Last week, nine members of Abernathy MacGregor made the annual trip to New Orleans for the Tulane Corporate Law Institute M&A Conference. This year, the Tulane Conference brought together an incredible 800+ of the country’s top M&A practitioners, including attorneys, bankers, proxy solicitors and other professionals, and a healthy contingent of M&A reporters as well. The formal discussion, as always, focused on the latest trends in M&A and shareholder activism, but it was the informal discussions where you really got a sense as to just how much is changing across the M&A and activism fields. Last year was a record for M&A in many respects, as acquisitive companies took advantage of large cash stockpiles and robust stock prices to add to their portfolio, transform their business or enter new markets. At the same time, certain factors like geopolitical uncertainties, increasingly vocal shareholders of all types, evolving reputational risks and tricky regulatory approval processes only affirmed the value of telling a deal’s story as strongly as possible right out of the gate.
Over the course of several events, including AMG’s first ever Tulane golf outing, a well-attended cocktail reception at the French Quarter’s Palace Café on the conference’s opening night and a dinner for the firm’s clients and friends at the famed Tableau, we lent our voice to the conversation on what drove deal activity last year, and what is to come, and gained some valuable perspective from new and old acquaintances alike. For those that were able to join us in some form or fashion in New Orleans, thank you. And for those that couldn’t, we hope to see you next year.