How about a conference on conferences
If your inbasket is anything like mine, you probably receive more than a few “invitations” each day to attend a vaguely relevant industry conference.
Today’s first invitation had a bit of a neat twist:
“With all the attention being paid to megafunds and megabuyouts, where does that leave smaller middle market leveraged buyouts? Better-positioned than ever to generate high returns, that’s where.
After 15 years in the private equity industry, I’ve just formed [Redacted] Capital Partners to capitalize on the exceptional opportunities in the smaller end of the middle market, which is larger in terms of deals done and much less efficient than the larger sized deal market.”
Not only was I given the chance to attend one of 27 debt conferences put on each month in the USA, the fellow chairing the conference had the smarts to combine this “conference” with the announcement of his new private equity fund. It wasn’t clear if it he was managing a fund with dough or fell into the bucket of something called “an unfunded sponsor”, but good for him either way. A few thousand more people now know about his new venture than did yesterday, and with 2,500 buyout funds in the USA, why not market yourself by organizing a conference and inviting every lawyer, agent, lender, limited partner, competitor and journalist you know? Even if just 60 show up, the hall is paid for and you got to chair it; confirming your standing as a leading industry thinker.
It is also spam, of course, but the people whose livelihood depends on the conference industry (or the various regional associations) need new shoes, too.
And we also now know that the buyout industry is so mature that it has had to stratify the categories even further: no longer is small, middle, large and mega good enough to cover the private equity buyout territory. There is even a sector defined as the “smaller end of the middle market“.