After conducting merger and acquisition meeting via video conferencing apps such as Zoon during the pandemic, investment bankers are now rushing to see company CEOs and other top executives in person with the restrictions imposed on movement due to Covcid-19 pandemic being eased in many countries.
This back to normal style of working for the investment bankers is despite the flourishing of deal making through Zoom meetings last year.
The M&A deals in the first quarter of 2021 by volume have hit a year-to-date record.
According to Refinitiv data, there was a 93 per cent rise in the total value of pending and completed deals to $1.3 trillion during the quarter which is the second biggest quarter on record.
According to a report published by Reuters, there is a concern among investment bankers that they could lose a client to a rival if they fail to meet them in person and some even reportedly said that it was not possible for them to expand their clientele without meeting prospective clients in person. Some were also fatigued from working long hours remotely.
“People became Zoomed out. I was out visiting clients and they were very appreciative to have us back in front of them,” said Drew Goldman, global head of investment banking coverage at Deutsche Bank.
“The meetings, frankly, were more productive than they would have been on a phone call or on video conference call,” he said, adding that most clients are also tired of Zoom and happy to meet in person.
People who have been filly vaccinated do not need to wear masks outdoors and can also avoid putting masks on while in most indoors places, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month. This has made corporate executives more willing to engage in social activities, such as a round of golf and fine dining, that bankers organize to build rapport.
In this comeback era, meeting points range from offices and restaurants to country clubs and backyards.
For negotiations on the merger of AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Discovery, the involved investment bankers had held meetings at in Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav’s New York City brownstone and tried to work out a deal that, if successful, would create a new company that would have a value of more than $120 billion.
According to reports young bankers were the worst hit by the pandemic as they typically learn their trade and develop contacts by working and travelling with senior colleagues. Because of the social distancing and travel restrictions, these young dealmakers found it very challenging to evolve as bankers.
“For younger bankers who are trying to make their way in the world, they’re gonna have to be out there, pressing the flesh and meeting people,” said Marc Cooper, chief executive of investment bank PJ Solomon.
While it is not certain whether business travelling for bankers will reach pre pandemic levels, there is eagerness on the part of bankers to travel for business development. At the same time, many expect a hybrid model of deal making to persist with the more procedural talks with clients being carried out remotely.
“Citi bankers are visiting clients when and where appropriate and safe,” said Tyler Dickson, global co-head of banking, capital markets and advisory at Citigroup Inc (C.N). “We do so on an as needed basis with the our firm’s approval and clients’ permission, while practicing safety measures such as social distancing and other relevant practices.”
(Adapted from SaltWire.com)