I called over Jang over the phone, and in the meantime I checked the contents of the article. The acquisition date for Ullim Electronics, which was written in the article, was June 2022, so it was about four months from now. I looked at it and thought, ‘It’s… a little vague, but… they may or may not have started negotiations now. However, it would not be time for the negotiations to end. If that was the case, rumors would have already taken the lead in the current news.’
I went on to check the price of the negotiations.
[Suyeon Electronics buys 38.1% of Ullim Electronics, which was formerly owned by its majority shareholder, for 1.652 billion dollars.]
In the meantime, the phone rang. I remembered that number 1.652, then lifted the phone while closing the email window.
“Please let him come in.”
Soon Vice President Jang, who had just left, came back into my office. “Did you call me?”
“Oh, yes. Well… Do you know Ullim Electronics?”
“Yes, I do. When I was working for another company, I went to the company to visit.”
“Oh, I see. That’s great,” I said with a big smile.
“By the way, why?”
“I’m just wondering what this company looks like.”
“Oh, yes. As far as I know…”
Jang began to relate what he knew. Ullim Electronics was established in the early 1990s and used to make cassette tapes, CD players, and MP3s according to the evolution of the music market. When the market died as smartphones came out, the company quickly turned to the electronics business.
Although it was difficult in the beginning due to decreased sales, its sales had increased rapidly as markets for the smart car had grown. It was a company recognized worldwide for its technological power and know-how built up since the 1990s. According to the search, the current market capital was three billion dollars. Originally, it used to be worth seven billion dollars before the financial crisis from China, but now it was just half-price.
I said while looking at the chart, “It has been getting a lot cheaper lately.”
Vice President Jang also nodded, “We’ve been having a hard time in manufacturing lately, but this company is particularly bad. Something’s wrong with it on the inside.”
“I see. But basically, they have the technology, and the future looks bright for smart car parts companies.”
Vice President Jang agreed, “Yes, I think so.”
‘Yes… so did Tak Mun-su want to buy it?’
As expected, I was not the only one who was looking for an M&A item cheaply after the Chinese financial crisis. Tak Mun-su was watching for this kind of sale. Come to think of it, the reason I went to Garden Royale last time was to get information about M&A. Of course, all I got from it was insults instead of information, and Tak Mun-su never let this kind of information out. I had to admit that he was thorough, but this time he had been caught by me.
‘If Tak Mun-su is coveting it, it’s not a bad company. I don’t need to look for a company to take over… Let’s take advantage of his insights rather than to try to find a company to acquire.’
I spoke to Vice President Jang, “Then, let the directors know about this company and tell them to be mindful of its acquisition.”
“Oh, yes. So, how long do we have to get information?”
I thought for a moment, ‘Even if it’s not being negotiated right now… at least Suyeon Electronics will be watching. Then… we have to take action as soon as possible.’
“As soon as possible… Can I have it by four p.m. this afternoon?”
Vice President Chang nodded, “… I think it’s possible to get rough information by then.”
“Then, do it. Please call the directors to the boardroom at four.”
“Yes, boss.” After bowing to me, Vice President Jang left the president’s office.
After he went out, I turned back to the monitor, looked at the Ullim Electronics’ chart and checked the key points once again: five months from now, 38.1%, 1.652 billion dollars… and the CEO’s name is Oh Kyu-seok…
“They say they’ve lost all their investments in China.”
At four p.m. that day, I sat at the top of the conference table as scheduled, and was briefed by the directors.
“All the Chinese companies that signed big supply contracts have collapsed… There’s no way for them to collect their sales receivables.”
“Some of the clients are alive, but they just barely. Even if they get paid in yuan, they’ll barely be able to make up for the deficit considering the exchange rate has fallen.”
To be sure, there was a reason that a company valued at seven billion dollars fell to three billion dollars. Listening to the reports, I looked at Vice President Jang.
He advised me by summing up the information. “Of course, there is still a lot of bad news. But that’s a problem for all of our manufacturers right now. If there’s nothing worse to be done here… It’s an opportunity to buy a good company at a low price.”
‘He’s right. It is a company with technical skills and had good sales. In the era of smart cars, the electronics business is getting bigger. It is only temporarily shaken by the wrong investment now, and once the global economy recovers, its stock price will rise. So, Suyeon Group’s working group decided to buy it…’
I asked the directors with such thoughts. “What about the major shareholder’s intention?”
Director Kwon, who sat around the corner, replied at my question. “What’s unique about this company is that its founder, Oh Kyu-seok, is neither married nor has any successor. He set up his own company, and it has grown this much. I know that he will be seventy years old next year. Just in case, he has prepared a succession plan… Stocks are probably not disposed of… There is a story that when he dies, he will make a foundation and give the money back to society.”
“I see. How much would be good if we bought it?”
As expected, Director Park answered, “The major shareholder’s stake is 38.1%, and if we consider the current share price, that is 1.4318 billion dollars. But given that the current founder has been in business for more than thirty years and has a high stake, shouldn’t we put in at least 1.5 billion dollars in premium? That’s what I think.”
His guess was similar to the price Tak Mun-su bought it at…
I looked around the directors and said, “Yes, I see. Then let’s try to get in touch with him. If not for acquisition, just tell them we’d like to invest, and they will not take it badly because they have experienced a record deficit for a few consecutive quarters.”
Vice President Jang nodded, “Yes, I think so.”
“Well, then, Vice President Jang, I want you to team up and move on this. This is it.”
When I was finished, all the board members bowed to me and said, “Yes, sir!”
From that day on, the race for the acquisition of Ullim Electronics by Invictus Investment began.
They also responded favorably, ‘The chairman wants to clean up the equity relationship before he dies.’
Oh Kyu-seok was a prominent figure who had founded the company alone in the 1990s when he came out of a large company and grew it, but now he seemed to have realized his age. Next year he would be seventy, and he seemed to have slowed down a little, saying it was enough when he saw the Chinese financial crisis gripping the company.
Further squeezing the board members, we found that Suyeon Group’s offer had yet to come. That was a relief. If the negotiations had been under way, our late arrival would have been a little disadvantageous. In contrast, we took the lead!
As soon as I saw the future news, I moved and it worked. The seller had an intention, and I did a strong push, so the acquisition proceeded quickly.
Vice President Jang gave me a quick report as soon as things went on. “It has been proposed that we will take over all of Chairman Oh`s shares. However, his successor is President Jang Jin-suk, and he wants to continue the business with a 3% stake.”
When I received the report, I said with a nod, “Let’s follow our tradition.”
Our tradition was to invest only and not run the business. As long as there was no big harm in falling stock prices, the news from the future showed that whoever came in and did the job now, he was destined to take the role of ‘the hero who saved the company from the crisis.’ It would not be a poison, but a Holy Grail filled with holy water.
“Then we will make a deal and go into details of the negotiation at 1.5 billion dollars.”
I nodded. Tak Mun-su bought it for 1.652 billion dollars, so it would be a reasonable price to buy around there.
But one day, a surprising call came to the president’s office.
“Hmm?” Secretary Park’s voice was a bit tense when he said that. It was not like him.
“Well. I got a call from Suyeon Group’s secretary.”
“Tak Mun-su wants to speak to the boss directly.”
“Really?” I said with a slight surprise. I thought there might be some friction with Suyeon Group, but I didn’t know Tak would call me personally. I spoke to Secretary Park, “Put me on the line.”
After the coordination between the secretaries of both sides, Mr. Tak officially spoke to me. “Hey, CEO Han, how have you been?”
“Why did you leave so fast during the last meeting? You should drink a little more before you leave.”
“I had a slight cold.”
I had a rough talk with him while I thought, ‘When is he going to talk about Ullim Electronics?’ About two minutes later, Tak Mun-su began to speak. “Oh, by the way…”
‘It’s coming!’ As soon as I thought of it, he said, “There’s a rumor going around that Invictus is going to take over Ullim Electronics.”
I said with a big smile, “Oh, it’s spread…”
It was expected. It was natural for Suyeon Group to keep an eye on Ullim Electronics.
“Is that true?” He was probably asking that, knowing that our company had put in an offer.
“Yes,” I answered dutifully.
“Oh, really? Is your company all right?” He still seemed to believe that our company was suffering a huge loss from its investments in China.
“Oh, yes. A crisis is an opportunity,” I answered with a big smile.
But then, he suddenly opened his heart. “To be honest, I was watching this company, too.”
‘I know, you bastard.’ I thought to myself, and I put my brain to work more. ‘This sly person shows his true heart. Why the hell?’
“It was a company that matched our Suyeon Electronics’ vision.”
I responded to the best of my ability. “Oh, so it was.” It was actually sarcastic, but he didn’t know at all.
“Yes, that’s why. Can you hand it over to our company?”
I realized only then why he was being honest.
“Hand it over?”
“Yes. We’d like to take over Ullim Electronics.” He declared war, saying he wanted to take it over.
‘Oho… look at this,’ I thought. In a way, he swallowed the bait. He thought I had lost a lot of money on investments in China, but he couldn’t imagine that I had become a super power with forty-five billion dollars in cash.
‘But even if there was no loss in China, he couldn’t think I’d go to a face-to-face confrontation with Suyeon Group.’ I told him, thinking about it, “I don’t think that’s going to be easy on our part, either. I’m sorry, Mr. Chairman.”
When I said that, a short yet long silence continued on the other side of the phone.
I was sad since this was not a video call. He would never have imagined that I would refuse here. He’d always been a lion in a savannah. But when a hyena suddenly tried to bite the lion, he couldn’t help but be embarrassed.
“Well… Is that so? I see…” he managed to answer me.
I thought of some things to fill his ears. Now it was time to tell him who was going to a lion in this meadow, and who was going to be a hyena…
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