Feb 14, 2024 - Axios Events

Axios BFD Miami roundup

Affinity Partners CEO Jared Kushner speaking on stage to Dan Primack

Affinity Partners CEO Jared Kushner speaking to Dan Primack at Axios BFD Miami. Photo: Ledd Villamarzo, Edin Studios for Axios

Industry leaders convened at Axios BFD Miami on Feb. 13 to discuss the biggest deals in the market, what's driving the news and the future landscape of 2024.

Affinity Partners CEO Jared Kushner told Axios' Dan Primack that he would not return to the White House if former President Trump wins the November election and that he plans to continue working at his private equity firm in Miami.

  • What he's saying: "Right now, that's really where my commitment is — to my investors, to my firm, to my employees, to my partners."
  • Kushner said his firm is "actively looking at several other deals in Israel right now."

Kushner also said Trump "had time to really reflect on everything" and that Trump's current team is "maybe the best he's had."

  • "I suspect that if he gets into office again, he would have just a level of competence and professionalism, even more so than it was in the last administration."

Separately, Kushner called Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a "visionary leader."

  • Catch up fast: Kushner was criticized for his continued relationship with MBS in the aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi's murder and for soliciting Saudi investments for his firm.

In a separate interview, Khosla Ventures managing director Keith Rabois said there's been "no detectable difference" in out-of-state recruitment since Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a six-week abortion ban into law last year.

  • Rabois said he gets more questions about school districts and which schools are the best for kids.
  • Rabois added that including a person's partner in the recruitment process makes the "biggest fundamental difference."

Restaurateur and chef Michelle Bernstein, who is a James Beard Foundation Award winner, told Axios' Hope King about the impact immigration has on the labor workforce.

  • What she's saying: "Labor has become so incredibly difficult. … I hate to use this word because it's so political, but it really all comes down to immigration."
  • Fewer people are willing to do the "harder work" like physical labor, including everything from harvesting vegetables to washing the dishes, Bernstein said.

Bernstein also called climate change's effect on food supply "out of control."

  • She said foods are "getting harder and harder to find" or are now "just too expensive."

When it comes to the motorsport industry, F1 Miami Grand Prix president Tyler Epp said F1 driver Lewis Hamilton's move from Mercedes to Ferrari is like "John Lennon going and singing for the Rolling Stones."

  • MSP Sports Capital CEO Jeff Moorad added, "The market cap of Ferrari went up $8 billion to $9 billion the day Lewis' deal was announced."

In the cruise industry, Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said they will add a new 180,000-ton ship to its fleet that will set sail in spring 2027.

  • Context: The cruise industry took a hit during the pandemic but Carnival Cruise Line has rebounded since hitting the water in 2022.

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In a View from the Top conversation, West Monroe chair and CEO Kevin McCarty predicted that more deal flow on the sell side is on the horizon for 2024.

  • When it comes to sell-side preparedness, McCarty says, "We've done more of those than ever by a long shot."
  • By the numbers: West Monroe's sell side is up over 100% compared to last year, according to McCarty.

In a separate View from the Top conversation, Latham & Watkins partner and global chair of Capital Markets Practice Ian Schuman discussed the S&P breaking 5,000 points last week and shared insight for companies considering going public.

  • What he's saying: Companies need to start working on forecasting. "How strong, how much conviction do I have behind my model? How big is my team? Is my team robust enough to not only forecast but to continue to do its day job and run the business," says Schuman.
  • He says companies that plan to go public in 2025 should be ready to go by Q3 2024.
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