With the proposal in front of me, I tapped on the desk without thinking before looking up. Before me stood Vice President Jang, Director Kwon, Director Kim, and a tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed foreigner, beside him.
I spoke to him, “I’ve received your proposal.” At my words, the foreign Director Kim translated it right away. “The executives and I will think it over and talk about it.
The white man nodded at Kim’s subsequent remarks.
I stood up and shook hands with him. I asked him, “What hotel are you staying at?”
The man answered right away, “Intercontinental Seoul, next to COEX.”
And again, Director Kim translated right away.
‘I heard that too.’ I told him, thinking about it. “I see. It’s your first time in Korea, so you can take a rest and take a tour from place to place. The Jongro is good, and the nearby Seolleung and Jeongneung Royal Tombs are worth seeing.”
Listening to Director Kim’s interpretation, he covered his hand with his own and told me, “Thank you for welcoming me. I appreciate it.”
I nodded and said to Director Kim. “When he goes out, get a taxi for him.”
After the four men went out of the office, I came back and looked at the proposal. As always, the core of the proposal was written at the end-$1,500,000,000.
I looked at it and thought, ‘It’s bigger than I expected.’
As I closed the proposal and looked at the cover page, I could see the logo on the top left, which said ‘Pfizer’ inside the sky blue circle. It was the company famous for Viagra, and a global pharmaceutical company, with a market capital of more than three hundred billion dollars. It’d only been a few weeks since I found out about this.
[Does CEO Han Sang-hoon get a big hit once again? Pfizer contacts Invictus Investment to buy Hyun Young Pharmaceutical.]
The sales of Hyunyoung Pharmaceutical’s new drug for arthritis were gradually increasing in the U.S., and Pfizer seemed to be excited when I put it up for sale. The size of the companies including Tencent, Pfizer, and Amazon that we had been dealing with, had reached a ceiling. There were not many companies that could buy a company just by throwing away a billion dollars in the first place.
‘Well, how much more do I call it, then? I thought $1,500,000,000 was a little high…’
I grabbed a pen and wrote ‘$1,600,000,000’ at the top of the report.
‘The proposal is one and a half billion… let’s raise it by a hundred million. If news of [CEO Han Sang-hoon got a big hit! He sold Hyunyoung Pharmaceutical for $1,600,000,000] comes out in the future news, we’ll proceed, but if news of [CEO Han Sang-hoon failed to sell Hyun Young Pharmaceutical. Pfizer expressed reluctance to the counter-proposal,] comes out, let’s offer a compromise price at around $1,550,000,000.’
‘As always, persuading these global corporate buyers is harder than I think. Even if its market capital is hundreds of billions of dollars, they don’t like to pay an additional hundred million dollars. In the old saying, it says, “The haves are doing more so.” However, the more I invest, the more I think I have to change the saying to “The haves get a lot more.”‘
‘The global financial market is truly bloodless and tearless, and the bigger it is, the more it is like that. At first glance, one and a half billion looks good, but Pfizer must have picked this price to satisfy the seller’s mind and buy it cheap.’
‘All right, let’s make a deal with them. How much can we get more?’
Of course, I was the one who was standing in the lead in this negotiation. I would know the news from the future. I circled the price of $1,600,000,000. But in the meantime, the alarm went off. It was five o’clock. The alarm was for the alumni meeting. When I saw it, I stood up as I turned the alarm off.
‘It’s already five o’clock.’ Thinking about it, I came out of the president’s office with my overcoat on.
Secretary Park stood up and bowed his head.
I spoke to him, “You know there is an alumni meeting today, right?
“Get ready to go down there. I’ll go up and come back in a second.”
I took the elevator to the top floor. Ah-young was waiting for me at home. She asked as soon as she saw me. “How was it, oppa?”
“Did you have a good conversation with the American?”
Ah-young had been getting to know what was going on in our company lately. I didn’t mean to say anything, but she asked me this and that since she had decided to become the queen helpmate.
I said softly, “Director Kim did a great job.”
“Hmm… really? So are you going to learn English or not?”
“I’m thinking about it.”
“I guess it’ll take too long to learn. Honestly, it doesn’t cost me much to use a good interpreter. There are people like Director Kim.”
“But it’s better if you do it yourself. I’ll teach you well, oppa.”
“All right. I’ll think about it.” I nodded and pulled the Rolls-Royce key from the car key box, two consecutive letters of capital R on the keychain. “By the way, I’ll be going right back down. I am a little late.”
“The alumni meeting?”
“Are you sure you don’t mind going alone?”
“I have to go alone.”
Ah-young looked at me and put her arms around me. Last time she told me, “Do I have to go to the alumni meeting as a bride-to-be?”
Considering the fact that she said that, it seemed undesirable to leave her behind. I told her, “To be honest, I am not going to the alumni meeting today. It’s a similar meeting.”
“Really? It is not the alumni meeting?”
“Yes. It’s just that they call it that, so I call it that, too.”
“Really? That’s a weird meeting.”
I nodded. “It’s very strange. The people who gather there are just strange.”
But when she heard that, her eyes glistened. “Really? That would be fun. Strange people are funny.”
I snorted. “It’s not funny, it’s not that good. They’re boring weird people.”
“Really? But why are you going there?”
“For Business… I’m not going there because I want to go. But sometimes what I hear from them helps me do business.”
“Hmm… well, then, goodbye, oppa.”
I kissed her lightly and then took the elevator to the parking lot on the first basement floor. Secretary Park was waiting for me. I tossed the Rolls-Royce car key to him and said, “Let’s go.”
“Yes.” Secretary Park took the steering wheel, drawing a long breath. “Hoo-hoo.”
I saw Secretary Park’s face through the rearview mirror. He was usually the owner of a stiff face, but he seemed a little more firm today.
“Why? Are you nervous?”
Park spoke frankly, “Yes. I’m okay when I go to other places. However, I am nervous when I go there.”
“Well… is this the third time?”
“That’s right.” As he said that, he drove the Rolls-Royce out of there.
A private bar located in Cheongdam-dong, known to be opened only for foreigners and celebrities on weekends. But even though today was a weekday, it had opened. They rented out the entire building, including this hall in the basement. Garden Royal had their second gathering of the year. I drank only a little, just a cocktail, trying not to get drunk. I didn’t open my mouth much here, but I kept my ears open.
Someone said, “What does KJ think about it?”
“Joo Sung-won 6, So Kang-sup 3, Kwak Ji-won 1.”
“So it’s about the same. Joo Sung-won will be president, right?”
“We can’t help it. Han Sang-hoon and Lee Soo-won went away like that, and there isn’t another adversary for him.”
As the person who had sent Han Sang-hoon and Lee Soo-won away, I only listened without saying much.
“If we don’t have any variables, we’ll have to line up on the side of Joo Sung-won.”
“But he keeps talking about big corporate tax increases in his pledges. Is that okay?”
“No, after getting him elected, we have to control him not to do that. Besides, his term has been reduced to four years. Let’s tolerate him for a year or two and when the talk about re-election comes out, we will scare him.”
People here weren’t too afraid of the president. They had the mindset, ‘The president will be there for just four years, but money is eternal.’
When I saw them jeer at the president and his pledges who the people would elect, they were not people I would like. Nevertheless, it was necessary to keep their conversation in mind. The information that came out here was very high-end. Even if I knew the future news, I needed to keep one or two keywords in mind for my searches. I listened to their conversation politely.
But then someone called me, “By the way, CEO Han.” I looked over; it was Ko Jin-hee, the chairman of JISUNG Fashion. “Why did you buy a food company recently?”
President Huh Joon-ik of LC Construction also joined in at the remarks. “Oh, I heard that too. Why did our Midas buy it? Will that go a few times too?”
Those who led the nation’s big businesses also had no idea of the looming crisis. Even though they were at the top position, Korea was still only a puppet in the global economy. They couldn’t know what would happen in the future.
I thought for a moment. ‘How many people know this in advance? Perhaps the head of American politics, some of those who are at the peak, and others who lobby the politicians, Jewish capitalists coming out of conspiracy theories…’
I just said with a smile. “It’s delicious. Have you ever tried Mix Dumplings?”
Ko Jin-hee shook her head. “No.”
Of course not. She was born a princess and must have not eaten frozen dumplings.
“It’s delicious for the price. It’s easy to cook, so it’s popular with college students and self-employed people. If we expand to China or Southeast Asia, we’ll probably sell more.”
Ko Jin-hee said with a nod, “Oh, I see. I’ll tell the maid and try it.”
Huh Joon-ik spoke with admiration, “CEO Han Sang-hoon, you have a background from the common people and know what ordinary people like. That’s great!” I did not know whether it was a compliment or an insult.
‘I’d say it’s a compliment, but…’
This was my third time attending this meeting, so I had a rough idea of the characters of the next CEOs. These people basically thought they were nobles, different from ordinary people, and they didn’t even think it was a problem. Therefore, they did not think much of speaking out someone’s background, except for the only one.
A moment later someone spoke in my ear. “You don’t have to pay attention to that. He does it because he does not know anything.”
I looked up. It was none other than Tak Joon-gi’s cousin, Tak Mun-su of Suyeon Group…
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