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Monday, 8 December 2008

Mergermarkets Breakfast leading to Thoughts about Food

A fair few breakfasts ago, I was invited to Gibson Hall by Merrill Corporation Global M&A for a mergermarket and Debt Market panel forum. The sumptuous petit dejeuner slid nicely into my stomach and I'm sure it helped my brain to digest the panel discussion more easily.

If I have a highly intellectual or strenuous day I always eat a big breakfast, to make sure that I have enough energy to last through until my next meal. The only exception is when we are travelling, for instance, into the mountains to pick up an interview, say, with a military commander, and the terrain is tough. Then I eat minimally.
Mark Tully taught me to always accept what I was offered out on location. He observed me once turning my nose up at a glass of hot milk served just as we were about to interview a feared religious leader after we had travelled for hours to talk to him, a former militant known as 'the Fox' who was revered and head of his rather luxurious village. Mark gracefully accepted his stainless steel tumbler of milk, and the interview proceeded with decorum.
Mark loves the soil of his adopted country, and the inhabitants of said adopted country adore him back too. I haven't met a journalist like him and he's one of my influences. He is, however, seen as an Indophile, whereas I feel as equally attached to the soil of Pakistan, the land of my forefathers.

Anyway, back to the food. If I'm doing a business meeting over a meal, I can eat heartily enough. But while I am interviewing someone, even if the tastiest delicacies are put in front of me I can't eat a thing, not even a sip of tea, as I like to concentrate hard. I want that audio to be recorded perfectly, so my mind is on the equipment, the interviewee, the questions and the answers. My eyes dart between these various objects while I nod manically at my interviewee so that he or she is reassured that I am engaging with him or her. I think so intensely I'm sure I have a slightly strange look on my face, compounded by the glasses balancing half way down my nose.

And this conference? The Moderator was Merlin Piscitelli, Director, International DataSite, Merrill Corporation. The discussion looked at the impact of the debt market on global M&A trends. It featured the funny and frank Sander Griffejoen, MD, M&A, ABN AMRO, David Brooks, Head of M&A Grant Thornton Corporate Finance, and Scott Simpson, Head of European M&A at the snappily titled Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher and Flom.

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