A solid plan, if I do say so myself.
Why would I let a man screw that up?
I finished the salad and wiped the dressing from my lips, then clicked on the email to find out when I’d be meeting with Tanner Wright, who I knew would be a douchebag, albeit a douchebag worth billions of dollars.
“I don’t give a damn what it costs, Barry! Just buy the fucking thing! And stop calling me every five seconds. If you miss out on this deal because you’re on the phone with me, I’ll rip off your balls and feed them to my Doberman! Now go!”
I slammed down the phone and balled my hands into fists. I shook them at the ceiling and growled. “Christ, why does everything have to be so fucking hard?”
Henry Costas, my best friend of ten-years and Executive Vice President of Business Development at Wright Enterprises, sat on the other side of my desk with a mild look of concern on his pleasant face.
“Is there a problem?”
I shook my head at him. “I sent my car guy out to the Barrett-Jackson auction in Vegas to bid on a 1961 Ferrari 250 in mint fucking condition, and he’s calling me every ten seconds to update me on the bids. I’m like, for Christ sake, just buy the fucking thing!”
“What was the last bid?” Henry asked.
“Fifteen million,” I snapped. “The catalog estimated that it could go as high as twenty-five million and I’m like, just fucking bid twenty-five million, Barry, and get it over with! I don’t understand the problem.”
I caught Henry grinning at me. When we met, I was in grad school at MIT and he was my business management professor. I didn’t have twenty-five cents to my name back then, and here I was a decade later throwing a temper tantrum over a twenty-five-million-dollar car that I would probably never drive.
“Billionaires do have their own particular sets of problems, don’t they?” Henry said with a sigh.
He crossed his legs and brushed lint from his knee. Henry wasn’t a billionaire, but he’d gotten rich when Wright Enterprises went public five years ago. He could have easily spent twenty-five million dollars on a car, but he would never do so because he felt it was an overindulgence and a complete waste of money.
I remember him asking me once, “Why buy a fifty-thousand dollar Rolex when a fifty-dollar Timex tells the same time?”
My answer, of course, was, “Because a fifty-dollar Timex won’t get you laid!”
The truth was, I had more money than I could ever hope to spend. Wright Enterprises was now one of the largest conglomerates in the world, with business holdings in practically every country on the planet.
I had made billions of dollars and could buy anything and anyone I wanted. And at the moment, I wanted that fucking Ferrari GT!
“We need to talk about the Anderson acquisition,” Henry said as the humor melted from his face. That was Henry. Enough frivolity! Back to the salt mines!
He reached into the briefcase that was sitting next to his chair and brought out a thick folder detailing our impending acquisition of Anderson Telecommunications, a regional telc0 in Arizona that had fallen on hard times.
We were going to acquire Anderson for pennies on the dollar. We’d either fix it if we could or tear it apart if we couldn’t.
It would be our first foray into telecommunications, so Henry was edgy. And rightfully so. I paid him to worry about such things so I didn’t have to.
“Is there a problem with the acquisition?” I asked, watching him balance the folder on his knee. He set a pair of reading glasses on the tip of his nose and opened the folder. He removed the first page and looked down his nose at it.
“I’m looking to prevent problems,” he said, sliding the page across the desk at me. “As we discussed, since this is our first telecom acquisition and neither of us are experts in the industry, I thought it would be a good idea to get an expert set of eyes to look over Anderson’s financials and interview the management team before we signed the final deal.”
I kept a red rubber ball sitting on my desk. It was supposed to be a stress ball, you know, a rubber ball you squeeze whenever you’re feeling stressed. The truth was, I rarely felt stressed. But I had the attention span of a tsetse fly and if I wasn’t constantly doing something with my hands, I had a hard time paying attention.
I squeezed the ball in my left hand and picked up the sheet of paper in my right. It was a letter of engagement from Goldman & Stern, the company who would handle this part of the due diligence.
I held out the paper and summed up my take on it. “So, we’re going to pay Goldman & Stern ten million dollars to do the due diligence on Anderson? Tell me again why we can’t do all the due diligence in-house? Why isn’t our corporate legal department handling this?”