“Dog and Pony Show”: Financial Expression of the Day

Dog and pony

They’ll never admit it, but managing directors love nothing more than a good dog and pony show. (Photo: silverdoctors.com)

Dog and Pony Shownoun phrase, according to Merriam-Webster: an often elaborate public relations or sales presentation; also, an overblown affair or event. Usage note: Although many senior bankers would never admit it, they all love a good dog and pony show. A catch-all expression, it aptly describes many of the silly presentations that bankers crank out and actually believe rank higher than brain surgery in importance and difficulty.  A good example is a road show, which is a series of presentations given to professional investors by the management team of a company that is issuing securities (for example, an initial public offering). It gets its name because management and the lead underwriter (simply put, “the lead” in banker parlance) literally go on the road like a bunch of Bible-selling hucksters, hitting all major US cities (and Europe if it’s a real boondoggle) in attempt to drum up interest in their deal by rhapsodically talking up the company’s prospects while walking the truth/lie knife edge, a game that everyone involved- pitcher and pitchee- tacitly understands. They do big group breakfasts and lunches in fancy hotel dining rooms; they do “one-on-ones” every hour at investors’ offices that run the interior design gamut from Caligula-esque to monk-like affairs in strip malls (the range of offices stocked with everything from super model manqué secretaries to 300-pound bearded ladies who refuse to get coffee); they do small group dinners at high-end bistros; and they squeeze into low-end conference rooms during any down time for “calls” with investors who just can’t bear the prospect of seeing these people face-to-face. At a breakneck pace, they travel by plane, taxi, “black car” or rental, subway, railroad…whatever method will deliver them to an investor who’s got enough excess cash and a half hour open on his schedule. Continue reading