Sunday, September 24, 2006

Merrill Lynch PE CFO Conference, Day 2

I was at the Merrill Lynch Private Equity CFO Conference last week and wrote a bit about the first day here.

Key topics of particular quality and interest to me on the second day included:

  • Jerry Borrell, Editor in Chief, covering Private Equity investing in Asia, The Middle East, and India. Tons of good information, but I never received a copy of the slide pack, the fonts were too small, and my eyes were too weak to capture it all. I'll see if I can get and post the slide deck.

  • Shane Goudey and Jim Fulton of Cooley Godward covering Fund Terminations: On Death and Dying... Wind-down & End of Life Fund Issues. These guys know their stuff. They talked about Fund Dissolution, Wind Up, and Liquidation. Dissolution events include such things as Term Expiration, Key Person Events, No Fault Divorce, and For Cause Termination. Excellent talk.

  • John Nuttall of First Columbus Investments gave an Introduction to the London Stock Exchange & AIM which was quite good. I had thought of AIM more as an alternative funding vehicle, but the stats are showing it to be a particularly liquid market for small cap companies, and one that is significantly cheaper than NASDAQ. Get this: AIM has had a "93% increase in the total market capitalisation over the past 12 months to $137bn." And this: "In 2005, AIM raised $17bn compared to $12.3bn on NASDAQ." First Columbus can help VC portfolio companies navigate to the right Nominated Ambassadors (Nomads) to assist with the whole process. If I were a poetic man, I would argue that AIM is almost creating a market for micro-Angel or super-Individual investors wanting to get a piece of earlier-stage companies. Hmm...

  • Charles Noreen of  ComVentures, Grace Chui of Doll Capital Management (DCM), and Teresa Heller of Comerica held a Roundtable: CFO Spotlight. Veteran CFOs & Service Providers Address Topics Relevant to Today's Financial Officers. This ended up being a very lively discussion with lots of audience participation, as they presented the results of a CFO survey they asked participants to fill out. As an indication that VC is rebounding, Grace pointed out that DCM took 1.5 years to close Fund III, 5 months to close Fund IV, and just 6 weeks to close Fund V, the most recent fund. Are things getting better for the best firms? You bet.

Next year's event will be September 19-21, 2007, in Torrey Pines, San Diego, CA. See you there!

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