Fi­nanco Fo­rum Ad­dress­ing M&A, Mil­len­ni­als and More

WWD Digital Daily - - News - BY DAVID MOIN

The an­nual fo­rum takes a dif­fer­ent for­mat this year.

“M&A has be­come the in­no­va­tion ve­hi­cle for a lot of com­pa­nies — not just from a prod­uct per­spec­tive but also from a ca­pa­bil­i­ties per­spec­tive.”

So said John Berg, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of in­vest­ment bank­ing firm Fi­nanco Inc., who on Mon­day will dis­cuss the chang­ing char­ac­ter of merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions, dur­ing the an­nual Fi­nanco Fo­rum. It's among the most at­tended and in­for­ma­tive in­dus­try gath­er­ings of the year, with ap­prox­i­mately 300 guests ex­pected at the Fo­rum, be­ing held at 583 Park Av­enue.

“I've been do­ing M&A for 30 years in the con­sumer space,” Berg told WWD. “Tra­di­tional M&A and what drove it, ver­sus what's driv­ing M&A to­day is very dif­fer­ent. The con­ver­gence of data, prod­uct and ser­vices makes the con­sumer in­dus­try more com­plex than ever. With the speed of change, com­pa­nies usu­ally can't han­dle or re­act to change on their own. We are see­ing lots of dif­fer­ent kinds of M&A to­day.

“Why did Macy's buy Story? Be­cause Rachel Shecht­man is a spe­cial per­son who knows how to bring a store en­vi­ron­ment to life and they needed that ca­pa­bil­ity. Why did Ama­zon buy Whole Foods? For dis­tri­bu­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties for per­ish­able items they never had be­fore. M&A is a far more strate­gic weapon than ever be­fore and more com­pli­cated and di­verse than ever,” Berg said.

Com­pared to past Fi­nanco Fo­rums, which tended to be provoca­tive with pan­elists de­bat­ing each other, this year's will be in­for­ma­tive, marked by Berg's pre­sen­ta­tion on M&A, and a pre­sen­ta­tion on the Mil­len­nial and Gen Z pop­u­la­tions by Coye Nokes, part­ner in the con­sumer and re­tail prac­tice of OC&C strate­gic con­sult­ing firm.

In ad­di­tion, there will be a panel dis­cus­sion with Si­mon Belsham, pres­i­dent of Jet.com, the e- com­merce plat­form pur­chased by Wal­mart for $3.3 bil­lion in Septem­ber 2016.

Oth­ers set for the panel: Melanie Shapiro, ceo of To­ken Ring, a one-stop so­lu­tion to ac­cess and pro­tect per­sonal in­for­ma­tion through a bio­met­ric-based wear­able ring; Vic­to­ria Tsai, founder and ceo of Tatcha Tatcha, a lux­ury skin-care brand in­spired by time­less Ja­panese beauty rit­u­als, and Karissa Bod­nar, founder and ceo of Thrive Causemet­ics, a beauty brand that for ev­ery prod­uct pur­chased do­nates “to help a woman thrive” and of­fers ve­gan, “cru­elty-free for­mu­las con­tain­ing proven in­gre­di­ents” with­out parabens or sul­fates.

Si­mon Belsham

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