Sometimes bankers have to do ridiculous things to win deals. And as M&A activity picks up, they’re having to wear ridiculous things as well, says the Wall Street Journal.
Banks competing to underwrite Lululemon’s IPO in 2007 showed their commitment by shedding their suits and donning the company’s signature outfits to meetings.
From the story:
But yoga isn’t for everyone. The stretchy bottoms were tight, remembers one banker who pitched the company. “It was pretty embarrassing, actually,” says the banker, who remembers leaving his hotel the morning of the pitch and feeling goofy as people in business suits walked by. Even though they were determined to wear the pants, the bank didn’t get a piece of the deal.
In uptown Manhattan, UBS AG’s bankers were planning an elaborate stunt of their own for the Lululemon pitch. The bank outfitted around 75 of its employees in Lululemon gear and had them descend upon Central Park for a “flash mob” yoga session. They photographed the event and presented it to Lululemon’s management during their pitch. UBS was named as one of the deal’s underwriters.
“Our sales went down when we stopped interviewing investment banks,” jokes Robert Meers, Lululemon’s CEO at the time, who was stunned by the number of bankers who loped into meetings sporting his product.
Wearing the right brand can make or break a deal, as Karen Goodman, a managing director at Financo, recalls. She lost a deal with one retailer after showing up wearing a competitor’s shoes.
Unfortunately for the investment bankers who pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for these clothes and accessories, wearing the gear isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get the deal.