1. Home
  2. tech
  3. news
  4. Caviar, champagne, and IPOs: At the Jefferies Private Internet Conference, tech dealmaking was back

Caviar, champagne, and IPOs: At the Jefferies Private Internet Conference, tech dealmaking was back

Ben Bergman   

Caviar, champagne, and IPOs: At the Jefferies Private Internet Conference, tech dealmaking was back
  • Jefferies hosted a conference to bring together late-stage tech founders, investors and bankers.
  • At the conference, there was talk of IPOs and M&A being back.

As bankers and venture capitalists nibbled on caviar sushi and sipped champagne and sake this week at Nobu Malibu, there was a gleeful mood at the beachside closing dinner of the Jefferies Private Internet Conference.

IPOs and M&As are finally back, and on top of that, there is an exciting new catalyst for rising tech valuations — generative AI.

"We surveyed a lot of the 140 entrepreneurs that are coming here and found 'IPO' is not a dirty word anymore," said Cameron Lester, Co-Head of Technology, Media and Telecom Investment Banking at Jefferies. "People are thinking maybe they will go public."

After a Covid pause, Jefferies resumed this conference in 2022 to bring together late-stage tech founders, investors, and bankers. But there was not much to talk about in the way of actual deals. Now the logjam is finally breaking.

"We're as busy today as we were in 2021," said Jason Greenberg, Co-Head of Global Technology, Media, and Telecom Investment Banking at Jefferies.

"We ultimately succeed and get paid on the success of deals happening and closing. I don't think as many deals we're on today will turn into announced deals in 2024 or early 2025 compared to 2021. But even if they don't close at the same rate, you're going to see a market that was down 60% peak to trough recover a lot."

AI is driving many of those deals, according to Greenberg; The theme of this year's conference was "In the Age of AI."

"Beyond typical deal considerations, AI has emerged as the single biggest new influence today in tech M&A," according to Greenberg.

Reports that Salesforce is in talks to buy the $10 billion data management software firm Informatica is another sign dealmaking is back (though some people at the conference were skeptical the deal would ultimately go through).

This week, there was also promising news that Goldman Sachs reported its investment banking division saw fees rise 32% in the first quarter thanks to strong underwriting and advisory work growth.

"It's clear that we're in the early stages of a reopening of the capital markets," said David Solomon, the bank's chairman and CEO, told investors.

Reddit went public in March, though the stock is down from its opening price. Other companies in the IPO pipeline include Databricks. Epic Games, and Getir.

Aside from the lavish Nobu dinner, attendees at Jefferies also heard from Andreessen Horowitz cofounder Marc Andreessen and Anthropic's head of business development, Neerav Kingsland.

Jefferies has significantly bulked up its tech investing division to better compete against more established players like Goldman and JP Morgan Chase.

"In the last 18 months, we've increased the number of MDs [managing directors] in our investment bank by 70%, which is kind of crazy given what's happened to our industry in terms of the decline over the past couple of years," Lester said.

Now that deals are finally happening again, Lester is hoping the investment pays off.

"People don't typically choose a banker in a 30-day period," Lester said. "They choose it based on relationships built over a couple of years."

Popular Right Now