MIPIM 2010 Blog: Thursday 18th March
18 March 2010
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Hordes of real estate lawyers are in Cannes this week for MIPIM, but what are they really getting up to? Find out in our MIPIM blog all week. Latest: Tim Webb, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig Maher
5.20: Tim Webb, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig Maher
“Sleepless in Seattle” had a great feel to it. “Shoeless in Cannes” doesn’t - on any level. Or as Dean Hodcroft put it, grand larceny in Cannes - too bloody right Dean.
Having enjoyed a couple of glorious hours in great company at a cocktail party hosted by Robert Bourne on his boat yesterday, things got a little bit sticky when it was time to leave.
We arrived during daylight hours. We parked our shoes with Madeleine Karlsson at the gangway to the boat (Madeleine was the cocktail party coordinator and latterly of George Osborne’s office at Tory HQ). So far so good.
On exit (darkness) I believe the idea was to slip back into the shoes one had previously deposited. Not so on this occasion. Someone had already helped themselves to mine. Quell carnage.
I was, in just under an hour, due to attend a dinner I was hosting with Quintain’s Adrian Wyatt in a very lovely restaurant in old town. To do so in white towelling flip flops would be quell catastrophe.
The solution ? Rests with me. But those who were there know the sacrifice that has been made. I trust our lips are sealed.
Regards the day ? Fantastic. This has been quite the most business originating Mipim I have experienced, and we are only documenting end of day 2. I must confess with head down and game plan in play I didn’t get to see many of my fellow competitors, so today I can only reflect on my world that is Greenberg.
I did bump into my old mate litigator William Densham at 2am but far too late for a meaningful chat. But he was on form and in excellent company from Mapeley. Total star. BFF.
But as you can sense - it was getting late. Those great plans of early to bed/ early to rise dashed against the barstools of the Martinez (again). Except, the only sacrifice is sleep. The early rise was a given. I had an 8.30 meeting with a developer and overseas investor : something lost in the haze of martinez networking at 4.00 am.
And so it went on. Adrian Wyatt called me late Thursday (today) morning. He was on the way to the airport: Justin and I were about to host lunch. He seemed to imply that I had deposited him back at the Carlton at 4.50am. Not so I said. Surely an error. All is good.
I think he was persuaded.
And so ended a rather hectic day for the m(e)n with the wrong shoes.
Tomorrow is a new dawn. The right shoes?
Onwards and upwards
Click here for Wednesday’s Blog
11.05: Habib Ullah, banking partner, Nabarro
Being teetotal means that MIPIM week at Cannes does not quite carry the same allure to me as it does for some attendees. Having said that, the feel-good factor has definitely returned this year, and with the Cannes sun seeming to breed new optimism, one can’t help but feel glad to see in Spring in the south of France.
First, we had the rousing keynote speech by London mayor, Boris Johnson, extolling the virtues of London. As far as he is concerned the outlook for London comes with no bad news, unlike the kind of bad news the Prime Minister has to regularly endure. This prompted the analogy by BoJo of a “bad news sandwich”, where every morning each bit of bad news received by the PM has to be sandwiched by his bullied advisors with 2 bits of good news. BoJo tried to convince us that with London, there is no bad news at all - so, in fact, we apparently have a good news club sandwich!
Second, the EuroHypo cocktail party on Day 3 seemed to reinforce the widely held belief that debt seems to be slowly trickling its way back into the market. The party held at the Beach, Carlton Hotel, was rammed full with many a banker talking about deals s/he was working on, and even mentioning how interest margins have started to be chipped away at. I overheard one syndications banker trying to get a slug of another bank’s deal!
As someone said to me last night, MIPIM is about investors and professionals gauging where the market is, and the overall perception seems to be that things are improving. However, attendee numbers in Cannes are definitely down from previous years and there is still mention of the dreaded “double dip” or “W-shaped recovery”.
I will leave the final word to MIPIM veteran, and fellow teetotaller, Salmaan Hasan - chief executive of Minerva Plc, who I bumped into looking uber-cool in his shades on the Croisette at lunchtime today. He was cautiously optimistic, believing that we are through the worst of it, but that there is still a long way to go.
Let’s hope that BoJo has got it right!
Click here for Wednesday’s Blog