Jegi What do private equity guys and media men do when there are no deals to be done?  They go to conferences!  Yesterday was the annual JEGI Growth Conference put on at the Four Seasons by the Jordan Edmiston Group.  I’ve been attending this conference for several years and yesterday’s edition was by far the best.  All the speakers and panels were very good but highlights were Kevin Worth’s (CEO of The Deal) panel on the current state of the LBO/Private Equity market.  Asked for predictions for next year Peter Wilde of Providence Equity Partners side something to the effect, “If the market keeps up like this, Jordan Edmiston may be the world’s largest investment bank.”  Phil Siegal of Austin Ventures added, “We were happy in 2007 but lost our shirts, we’ll be miserable in 2008 and 2009 but we’ll make a lot of money.”  The consensus was that the market will come back at some point and there will be some great companies to buy or invest in at attractive valuations.
Ron Norman, the CEO of GroupM Interaction was the most entertaining; he had two good lines that work well out-of-context:  “In times like these it pays to admire everyone” and “Not bad is the new great.”
Tolman Geffs and Scott Peters kicked off the event by going through an excellent slide deck comparing the current downturn to previous difficult periods.  The slides should be on the JEGI website soon.  The keynote was Gian Fulgoni of comScore who went through some of the (not so encouraging) recent data gleaned from the comScore panel.  With few deals in the pipeline the room was packed; hopefully next year everyone will be so busy that there will be a few empty seats.