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Cass society hosts world's largest student-led M&A conference

Event focused on M&A activity in emerging markets

Each year the Cass M&A Society, in conjunction with the M&A Research Centre (MARC) at Cass Business School, hosts what is now the largest student-led Mergers and Acquisitions conference in the world.

The key focus of this year's conference was M&A in emerging markets. Cass Deputy Dean Professor Steve Haberman opened the event, welcoming the professionals, academics and students who packed the auditorium. He introduced Ken Costa, ex-Chairman of Lazard International, the keynote speaker.

MARC Director Professor Scott Moeller chaired the first panel discussion which covered M&A trends for 2012. The panel comprised Deborah Allday, EME Regional Director of M&A, Hay Group; Daniel Bailey, Managing Director, Head of EMEA TMT, Citigroup; and Olivier Khayat, Deputy Head of Corporate and Investment Banking, Unicredit. 

The panel discussed the regions that are most favourable for strategic acquisitive growth. They encouraged students to broaden their horizons and consider working in emerging markets such as Brazil, China, Russia and India. The group also discussed the impact of public sector spending cuts on M&A activity.

The second panel debate was chaired by Charles Packshaw, Head of UK M&A at HSBC. He was joined by Jean Lafontaine, Managing Director, Financial Institutions Group, Citigroup; Michel Driessen, Partner, Transaction Advisory Services, Ernst & Young; and Eric Aouani, Partner, Ondra Partners. They discussed the criteria companies evaluate when looking to invest in emerging market firms, as well as the issues surrounding structuring and evaluating cross-border deals.

Evaluating the event, panellist Michel Driessen said: "The conference was very well organised and structured. Ken Costa was an excellent keynote speaker, delivering in-depth analysis on relevant topics in M&A and point of view on trends in M&A. The panel discussions were very open and insightful - a great way for students to obtain an honest outlook on the future of M&A in general and in the emerging markets in specific."

Ali Mahmoud, President of the Cass M&A Society said: "I was absolutely thrilled to attract such a high calibre group of speakers to Cass. Last year's conference set the bar exceptionally high and I was very pleased that we were able to deliver an event to be proud of.

He continued: "Emerging markets is always a topic that excites people so to address the issue of M&A in these markets was always going to generate an interesting debate. I look forward to seeing what the 2013 conference has to offer."

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