Weak dollar could fuel M&A at CTIA Wireless


Weak dollar could fuel M&A at CTIA Wireless

Open any major financial publication these days and you would be hard pressed to find an article that doesn't mention the weakening U.S. dollar or the economic downturn that the U.S. economy is experiencing. Despite the effects the economy is having on some companies in the industry, CTIA Vice President of Operations Rob Mesirow says it won't impact the number of attendees at next week's CTIA Wireless conference in Las Vegas.

Our attendee registrations "are trending very well considering we are going into a recession," Mesirow said in an interview with FierceWireless last week. "We have nearly 20 percent more attendees registered right now than we did this time last year--and last year was our highest attended show. So we will certainly exceed 40,000 attendees."

While the taxi lines won't be any shorter because of a recession, Mesirow noted that wireless start-ups looking to get acquired could have an easier time hailing a buyer. Because of the weakness of the U.S. dollar, more international companies are set to attend the show in search of cheap buyouts. Mesirow also noted that the looming 4G rollouts are drawing an international crowd to CTIA.

"We have always been an international show--generally about 20 percent of our audience is from outside the U.S.--but this year could certainly be much stronger than that," Mesirow said. "As we start moving more toward 4G it's becoming more and more of a global marketplace and the common technology is making it not quite as segregated as it once was."

One indication of the uptick in international attendees this year is Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin's keynote. While Sarin has served as a panelist at the show in the past, this would mark the first time that Sarin keynoted at CTIA Wireless, according to Mesirow.

Mesirow also gave FierceWireless a sneak peek as to what each of the keynote speakers would talk about at the show: Microsoft president of entertainment and devices, Robbie Bach's background in gaming suggests that he will make some announcements from Microsoft on the mobile gaming front. Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson is sure to make a mobile entertainment announcement related to the youth market, while Sprint CEO Dan Hesse plans to announce his roadmap for Sprint.

That just leaves the--as yet unannounced--Day Three keynote. Why the suspense?

"There is a Day Three keynote but we can't talk about it just yet," Mesirow teased. "We have a bit of a reputation for having really big Day Three keynotes--last year we had former President [George H. W.] Bush and [former President] Bill Clinton. We've got to top that. And I believe we will." --Brian

P.S. Fierce will once again host its popular networking party.  Join us on April 1 from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. at Rain at The Palm in Las Vegas.  RSVP here.