DAVOS, Switzerland – The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland is well underway, and a lot is happening here on the ground even though it is not as crowded as in previous years.
A source said people feel 10% to 20% lighter in the halls of the Congress Center. Another said the party scene after hours (more below) was less muted than last year.
There is also less optimism about the economy in the voices of the world’s power brokers. One CEO said we may be talking ourselves into a recession. A few others have noticed that Europe seems close to a recession (although European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has offered a different perspective on it), which could blow back to US shores.
Here are some other themes that Yahoo Finance has seen on the ground here at WEF:
Trump’s ghost: If you look closely, the remnants of the Trump administration are all over Davos-and we’re not talking about tariffs in China that President Biden may now be looking to end.
The hot after-hours party ticket on Tuesday was from former Trump White House Communications Director Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci. The founder of Skybridge Capital was also seen working in the halls – something he did very well – of the busy Congress Center. There’s no news if Trump’s son -in -law, Jared Kushner, got an invitation to Mooch’s gathering. Kushner, who was spotted at the Congress Center on Monday, was here for Davos 2020 as part of the presidential delegation but slipped under the radar this time.
The next hot party ticket is now as cybersecurity firm Cloudflare (which forms a name for hosting the best parties in Davos) flies to The Chainsmokers to perform.
Twitter Drama: Captives of the Elon Musk-Twitter saga may have forgotten that Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor has a day job-and it doesn’t keep track of Elon Musk’s flow of awareness on Twitter.
Since November 2021, Taylor has worked with tech titan Marc Benioff as co-CEO of Salesforce to compete against rivals SAP (Here’s CEO Christian Klein), ServiceNow (CEO Bill McDermott is not here) due to a scheduling conflict, a source told me), and IBM (Here is CEO Arvind Krishna, seen in his trademark dark blue suit).
Taylor clearly knows where his top priorities are, with Benioff and Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield (Salesforce’s latest – and biggest – acquisition). Taylor met with business leaders throughout the week, a source said. Somehow we suspect the Twitter battle has come to his chats – quickly followed by the future of cloud services and the future of work.
All things finance: It’s not hard to find an investment banker in Davos – usually by their attire. Think slim fit dark-colored Hugo Boss or Zenga suit, fitted dark shirt, slim fit tie and dull black Gucci dress shoes.
The banker brigade is fully exited this year, mostly European deals and financing teams from the likes of a Goldman Sachs and others. Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing was also seen at the Congress Center (in that dark suit setup …), as was the bank’s America CEO Christiana Riley.
Executives who spoke with Yahoo Finance say that bankers show deals (because that’s what they do) for companies they believe are worth more than their current stock prices indicated (the market is became cruel as we all know).
Funding also comes to mind as companies look to support their balances before a potential recession. And on the subject of markets, a major hedge fund player told me that the sale may not have been completed in the markets. Get from here what you want.
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and in LinkedIn.
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