“This is their suggestion.”
Vice President Jang handed the document he was holding to me. I took it. On the upper left, there was a blue mark that said ‘Tencent’ in English. Underneath it was a phrase that read ‘Kai Games Acquisition Proposal Guide.’
“The last time I turned down the offer was in October last year, right?”
“Yes, it was.”
“Well, it’s been almost seven months.”
It was now early summer in May 2020. It had been almost a year and a half since the release of Kai Games’ Fantasy War Ground, which started CBT early last year. Fantasy War Ground, which had been a hot topic since its release, dominated the game market that year and was still competing for the top spot in global market share until this year. The market capital of Kai Games was two point four billion dollars, twelve times higher than the price I had first bought it at. Our company’s value, which had a sixty-three percent stake, had reached one and a half billion dollars.
‘Then let’s see how much they’ve offered?’ I took the proposal, and my eyes grew slightly bigger and I muttered, “Oh, my God.”
‘Of the 63% stake held, if we sell 20% of them, they will pay $600,000,000.’
‘Of the 63% stake held, if we sell all the 63% stake, they will pay $2,000,000,000.’
“They’re paying two billion dollars to buy our stake.”
“Yes, that’s right. I was a little surprised to see it.”
“Oh, the Chinese are so magnanimous. Is this the spirit of the continent?”
“I can’t believe they’re going to add five hundred million dollars more in premium. But that’s how confident they are that they’ll make a profit from the business in China.”
I worried myself for a while. Originally, I was only trying to sell a twenty percent share and get the cash to buy another company, but the five hundred million dollars’ premium was big. I was seduced by the money.
‘Premium’s a matter, but… it’s more about what the stock price is going to be. In any game, the trends will change like water flowing over time.’
The popularity of the Battle Royale style of game, which had been a big hit, was slowly decreasing. Fantasy War Ground was one of the latecomers, so the number of simultaneous users was still steady, but by the end of the year, it was expected to gradually reduce. I’d already checked that in the ‘IT/Science’ category.
‘I’ll consider selling them all. Of course, if I sell all of my shares, the ownership of Kai Games will be removed from me. In a word, it means that I will be far from the condition of “dominating a company worth ten billion dollars in total value” to reach the Grandmaster Class. But if I get two billion dollars in cash… it wouldn’t be too hard to buy a new five to six billion dollar company. The key is money anyway.’
“I’ll think about it for a little bit, and then I’ll talk to you again.”
“How’s Hyun Young Pharmaceutical doing?”
“It’s good. FDA approval is in progress, so it should be on the market soon.”
“That’s great. I want them to finish it well. Give my words to them.”
Vice President Jang went out of the president’s office with his head down. Hyun Young Pharmaceutical also went through the procedure I had expected, so the new drug passed the FDA’s Phase Three and was waiting for a license to sell. Hyun Young Pharmaceutical, which had a market capital of just over one billion dollars at the time, had reached nearly three billion dollars for about three days on the news of the FDA’s approval, but now stood at a little over two billion dollars.
Come to think of it, the ladies and gentlemen who had been watching their cell phones on the set…
I remembered my second shot of ‘Meet the MBE Super Ant’ last year. That day, I had told them, “Blue E&M and Hyun Young Pharmaceutical have been added to the last stocks.” And then, as soon as they had heard my words, there had been a bunch of men and women who had bought the stocks with their heads down. If they had bought Hyun Young Pharmaceutical, they would probably have doubled their money.
‘But… if they had bought Blue E&M?’ To be honest, Blue E&M was a bust. Blue E&M, which had increased its market share by collaborating with the entertainment industry and games, had been pushed back by European TV using the same method. Share prices would have been in the plus or minus ten percent range if they had bought them. Although it was not a loss due to its business structure, it did not grow very much.
Of course, something might change if I made a big investment, but frankly, Blue E&M had not been so affectionate after the case of former CEO Ahn Yong-kyun. No, to be more precise, it now seemed a little less interesting as a thirty million-dollar company. Now I had two companies worth a billion dollars.
‘Our prospect is ready to make a result.’ FutureSync, which had been found in October last year, was an AI translation company. Based on big data, the company would bring together past translated documents and would translate them into more sophisticated versions. The system had a more sophisticated structure than Amazon or Google.
‘So they’re going to pay two billion dollars to buy it. It will be this month or next month that the system is completed. Around two months after its completion, it will be announced to the AI Society in Silicon Valley, and the person in charge of Amazon’s AI business there will report to Jeff Bezos, the richest CEO in the world.’
I’d already bought an eighty percent stake for fifteen million dollars last year. I didn’t know how much the offer would change, but it would probably go similarly. The business was going well. I would soon be a rich man wielding a company worth ten billion dollars, reaching towards the Grandmaster Class.
I got up from my seat. I had traded occasionally in the morning and had met Vice President Jang in the afternoon; everything I had to do today had been done. I came out of the president’s office and said, “Secretary Seo, Secretary Park, I’ll go home first.”
Secretary Park, standing outside, said goodbye to me, “Please go in, boss.”
By the way, Secretary Seo stood up and followed me. “Well… boss.”
“Are you going to sell Kai Games?”
‘Why is he asking me this? He does not usually ask this…’
I looked at him for a moment, and said, “Follow me for a moment.”
I stood in front of the elevator with him and pressed the up button. The elevator stopped and Secretary Seo and I went into it. The elevator had buttons for the first floor to the fortieth floor, and on top of them was a button that said ‘P’. I pressed the ‘P’ button, and soon the voice of the machine said, “Please enter your password.”
I pressed a few floors quickly, ’32, 18, 7, 3, 22, 15.’ The voice told us the floor I was going to, “Penthouse.”
The elevator stopped at the penthouse on the top floor of the Invictus Building. I undid my tie and threw it over the sofa, and said, taking a can of beer out of the refrigerator, “What do you want to drink?”
“No, I’m on duty, and… I have to drive.”
“You can drink anything other than beer.”
“Then I’ll have orange juice.”
I took out a pack of orange juice and threw it at him, and then came out to the outdoor terrace with him. May was when the wind got hot. I thought as I looked at the pool next to the terrace, ‘It’s about time we play in the water.’
When I was thinking about that, Secretary Seo asked me, “Well, why did you call me?”
I took a sip of beer and said, looking at the long stretch of Seoul, “You tell me the truth.”
“You bought some Kai Games, didn’t you?”
As I said, Secretary Seo answered honestly, “Yes.”
“How much did you buy?”
“I don’t know how much I have bought.”
“You don’t know how much you’ve bought, and you’ve put all your payments in there?”
“Yes. The bonus, and all of them…”
I said with a laugh, “Then how much is it now?”
“It’s just over four million dollars.”
I laughed at the words. Secretary Seo and the people who had bought Hyun Young Pharmaceutical during the shooting, were overlapping. Secretary Seo had been with me since I had started my company, so he had been able to imitate me since the very beginning. I suddenly recalled the promise I had made with him: ‘If you’re by my side, you’ll drive a Porsche in three years!’
So, I told him, “Yes, four million dollars would be enough to buy a Porsche and drive it.”
Upon hearing that, Secretary Seo answered me instead of drinking orange juice, “Well, thank you, boss. No… brother Sang-hoon. Thank you very much.”
I looked at him with some surprise. It had been a long time since Ji-hoon called me by my name in a suit. I felt a sense of incompatibility at the words, and told him, “Are you… are you quitting your secretarial job?”
“Yes. I’ll only be working until next month.”
“To start a business?”
As expected, he had spent two years sitting next to me in a secretarial position, learning English composition or computer programming. I had known he was going to leave me someday.
“Well, yes… but I don’t think things will go well without you.”
“I have taught Secretary Park all about the duties as a secretary starting three months ago.”
“Three months ago? That long ago?”
“Yes, three months ago, I made up my mind, and told Secretary Park.”
“What, then, am I the only one who didn’t know?”
“Yes, boss. I’m sorry.”
I knew who the next president would be in twelve months, but I didn’t know my secretary would quit in a month. That was the irony of my ability.
“Well, I can’t stop your dream, either. That… doesn’t fit my philosophy.”
“Thank you for your understanding.”
“Then instead… accept one thing, my wish.”
“What do you mean?”
“Sell a 51% stake in your company to me and start it up. To be precise, I will start out as an early investor.”
“It will be good for you. You will have a strong supporter, and four million dollars is a lot of money, but it’s like nothing in the startup world. Do you really think it will be enough when you’re in IT?”
“Then, I’d appreciate it.”
“Yes, and you have to go public within three years. How about that?”
I patted him on the shoulder. “Yes, try your best.”
But then, Ji-hoon asked me, “Well, by the way, brother, are you selling Kai Games?”
I looked him up and down at the question and said, “Wow, you became a complete stock investor.”
“I’ve been with you for two years, and the sparrow near a school sings the primer.”
“Is that so?”
I drank another beer and then thought about Kai Games, which gave me the biggest return, one more time. But it seemed to be time to part.
I made up my mind here and told him, “Just to let you know… it’s a deal worth a billion dollars.”
“I’m going to sell all our stake. As Tencent will come in instead of me, it is not going to plunge, but… in the long run, the outlook…”
As I said it, Secretary Seo said, “I believe in you. Before you leave, I’ll sell out quietly.”
It meant selling the stock and leaving, but somehow it sounded like leaving the company. I answered with regret, “Well, yes. Thanks for your two years’ service, anyway. You go out and do a good job. Report to me while you do it.”
Secretary Seo, no, my university colleague Seo Ji-hoon, bowed to me and said, “Yes, big brother. I hope you’ll give me a favor in the future, too.”
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