Bloomberg Deals Summit
June 8, 2021
By Bloomberg Live
Deal-making is booming, with a record $1.4 trillion of deals announced so far in 2021 as big acquirers move past the pandemic slowdown and blank-check companies snap up targets.
At the same time, companies have raised more than $140 billion in IPOs in the biggest going-public drive since 2010, with SPACs not far behind. New unicorns are being minted almost every day as start-up funding in the U.S. hits a record high, and CEO confidence – a crucial catalyst for transactions – soars.
Click here to view video of today’s event.
- Kim Posnett, Co-Head, One Goldman Sachs & Global Head, Investment Banking Services, Goldman Sachs
- Scott A. Barshay, Chair of the Paul, Weiss Corporate Department, Paul, Weiss
- Michal Katz, Head of Investment and Corporate Banking, Mizuho Americas
- Marc Brown, Partner & Head of EQT Growth, EQT Partners
- Anu Aiyengar, Global Co-Head of M&A, J.P. Morgan
- Ken Bisconti, Co-Head, SS&C Intralinks
- Ken Moelis, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Moelis & Company
- Betsy Cohen, Chairman, FinTech Masala
- Alesia Haas, Chief Financial Officer, Coinbase
- John Tuttle, Vice Chairman & Chief Commercial Officer, NYSE Group
- Joey Levin, CEO, IAC
- Jeffrey Smith, Managing Member and the CEO & Chief Investment Officer, Starboard Value
- Liana Baker, U.S. Deals Team Leader, Bloomberg
- Alix Steel, Anchor, Bloomberg Television
- Sonali Basak, Financial Correspondent, Bloomberg
- Crystal Tse, Deals Reporter, Bloomberg
- Katie Roof, Reporter, Bloomberg
- Scott Deveau, Deals Reporter, Bloomberg
Against the backdrop of one of the most exciting years in deals history, Bloomberg Live presented Bloomberg Deals, a virtual event that featured top dealmakers, CEOs, investors, and insiders sharing their insights on the landscape and debating whether this historic boom is likely to continue.
Kim Posnett, Co-Head, One Goldman Sachs & Global Head, Investment Banking Services, Goldman Sachs, said the rise of the creator economy is driving M&A. Technology and media companies figuring out how to dominate the new streaming landscape are turning to deals to gain scale.
When people can walk around with their “entire content library in their pocket,” Posnett said, that leaves companies “trying to figure out how they become the direct-to-consumer platform that consumers can’t live without.”
“Anyone can be a merchant now,” Posnett said, adding that consumers have many more media options than they once did. “Anyone can be a content creator. Anyone can be a content distributor.”
Ken Moelis, Chief Executive Officer of investment bank Moelis & Co., likened the market for meme stocks to gambling. A lot of people aren’t making an investment decision, they’re making an emotional one, he said.
“You’re in a global craps game where everybody is talking to each other and they’re having a blast,” Moelis said.
Companies could rush to do deals ahead of proposed changes to capital gains taxes by the U.S. administration of President Joe Biden, says Michal Katz, Head of Investment and Corporate Banking at Mizuho Financial Group Inc.
Some large shareholders in companies that may have been thinking about selling could be saying to themselves that it’s better to do it sooner rather than later, said Scott Barshay, Chair of the Corporate Department at law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
Bill Ackman’s potential SPAC deal is indicative of how innovative capital markets can be, according to blank-check pioneer Betsy Cohen, Chairman, FinTech Masala. Bill Ackman is the Founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital.
The transaction, which could see Ackman’s special-purpose acquisition company take a pre-IPO stake in Vivendi SE’s Universal Music Group while continuing to pursue a separate business combination, isn’t something that everyone would able to pull off, Cohen said.
“I’m sure there will be others that will try,” said Cohen. “Will they do it with success? I’m not quite sure.”
Capital markets are “plastic,” Cohen added. “I think we saw the plastic being stretched in this particular transaction, but in a very creative way.”
The hardest part of going public through a direct listing was connecting the supply and the demand for shares, according to Alesia Haas, Coinbase Inc.’s Chief Financial Officer.
“You’re not allowed to ask your investors what they plan to sell, and so you go in with a lot of unknowns,” Haas said, adding that this can create a “bumpy path,” for a listing.
The cryptocurrency exchange went public in April and is currently trading with a market valuation of almost $46 billion.
The tiny activist that won seats on Exxon Mobil Corp.’s board showed how one investor — in this case Engine No. 1 — can hold immense sway when it speaks for many stakeholders, Jeffrey Smith, chief executive officer of investment firm Starboard Value, said.
“Shareholders can make a difference, especially when shareholders are doing what we look to do, which is to speak for the rest of the shareholder base,” Smith said. “What they accomplished is eye-opening.”
If you are speaking for the majority, then you can rally their support, Smith said.
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