The battle for control of Harbin Brewery has a compelling list of ingredients: intrigue, politics, billions of dollars and public hostility between two international beer giants. In the midst of the commotion is David Sun, the man from Belgian giant Interbrew who by his own account simply kept his eye on the ball and became the middleman in a deal that would ultimately trigger the first major takeover battle for a mainland company. His company, Global Conduit Holdings, a hybrid of seven key investors, reaped $131 million in the process. 'Everybody thinks it's a slam dunk. It could have been potentially a long-term hold,' he said yesterday, adding that the seven investors behind the company - including Lawrence Yu Kam-kee and Taiwanese bank SinoPac Capital - had been prepared to see it through after paying a 10 per cent deposit to the Harbin city government. Mr Sun was with Interbrew when it tried to buy the 29 per cent stake currently owned by SABMiller in June 2003. He left the brewer but kept in touch with the Harbin city government. When an attempt by the government to sell its 29 per cent stake to SABMiller fell apart this year, he moved in. 'There was a bit of awkwardness on the city's part,' he explained. 'The city couldn't sell it outright because they had a kind of partner there [SABMiller]. The issue with the government is that they were in need of money in order to pay off some of their employment liabilities, invest in new projects and show to the rest of the world they could do an international deal.' Interbrew, however, was not interested, citing other investments. But Anheuser-Busch 'found me', Mr Sun said. 'We were basically just waiting it out. The government couldn't approach a strategic investor ... it would be a slap in the face for SABMiller. 'I'm not sure the city was upset with SABMiller. But there were people involved who were opposed to SABMiller. It's a political situation; it was quite a sensitive city at the time.' Global Conduit was put in place. A 10 per cent deposit was paid for the shares, with a purchase price of $3.25 per share. Then, early last month, Anheuser-Busch paid $3.70 per share, giving Global Conduit a profit of $0.45 per share, or a total of $131 million. Mr Sun said everything was done independently of the city government or Harbin Brewery management. 'They are completely separate,' he said. He does, however, admit to a relationship with Harbin chief executive Peter Lo and director Peter Jeva Au. The two executives are directors of a fund, China Enterprise Capital, which includes Mr Sun on its four-member management team. Both Mr Au and Mr Sun played down the link. 'Peter Au wasn't even here at the time [Global Conduit was set up],' Mr Sun said. Mr Au said: 'There is a management company of the fund ... [Mr Sun] is someone who is capable of doing that.' A prospectus put out by the fund does list Mr Sun's name. 'He is not an officer, not a director,' said Mr Au. 'He was never a director. He has no official title.' The fund was in a formative stage, Mr Sun added: 'I'm not even sure where it will fit in at the moment. I don't have an employment contract.' According to Mr Au, the fund will be doing pre-initial public offering deals and buy-outs. He was not willing to talk about the details of the takeover, eye-catching in itself for the windfall he and other executives stand to gain. Should a takeover take place before July 28, management stands to reap $110 million. Despite the prospect of a windfall, Mr Sun is emphatic that personal gain never played a part in the directors' minds. 'It was never their consideration,' he said.