M&A's future dealmakers

Last night I attended a conference at Cass Business School organised by their students’ M&A Society. The speakers included Bernard Liautaud, the founder and CEO of Business Objects, which was sold to SAP for $6.8bn in Jan 2008, and ten additional panel members who represented the great and the good of global investment banks.

The auditorium was mainly full of Cass postgraduate students and a handful of us other interlopers who managed to get invited.

For me and no doubt everyone in the room it was fascinating to hear how Mr Liautaud took his start-up business in 1994 through to an IPO within three years, the various acquisition strategies that Business Objects then employed until it was ultimately acquired in what in 2008 was the third largest software acquisition of all time.

Add in the next two panel sessions - where high profile and vastly experienced M&A bankers talked about global and cross border M&A and the changes in UK M&A regulations - and I am sure you can imagine the students were completely convinced that this career path is for them.

Many of the students in the room will have loaded themselves with debt to try to pursue a future career in M&A. And why not; it's mysterious and glamorous to all those who don't know the first thing about the City. It’s also rewarding and, according to the bankers, there are not only financial rewards but also the "personal satisfaction" of shaping the future economy. And there was I thinking it was solely about the deal fees and bonuses - shame on me...

Filed under: dealmaking