on any other sunday it's as good as money in the bank How much did the founders of Sunday Communications cash out in the PCCW buyout? Not much, according to insiders. Though their company was valued at more than $10 billion in its heyday, co-chairmen Rick Siemens and Edward Cheng Wai-sun managed to cash out only $897 million and $266 million respectively. Mr Siemens' holding vehicle, Distacom, is believed to have stumped up $600 million in seed money in 1996, yielding a $297 million profit. Mr Cheng's USI, meanwhile, made $67 million on its original investment of $200 million. Mr Siemens, then, managed a 50 per cent return over nine years and Mr Cheng 33.5 per cent. 'If they had put their money in a fixed-rate bank account, they would have earned the same, if not more,' said one observer. modesty becomes him On the other side of the negotiating table, PCCW chairman Richard Li Tzar-kai purchased 17 million PCCW shares for $81 million in the two weeks ahead of the Sunday acquisition. Unlike the pronounced run-up in Sunday's share price prior to the deal, Mr Li's purchases are less worrying from an insider-trading point of view. In any buyout, investors tend to reward the acquisition target and punish the acquirer. Indeed, PCCW's shares closed yesterday at $4.775 - only marginally above Mr Li's average $4.765 acquisition price. Li Ka-shing's filial figures Consider it another case of like father, like son. Last month Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited proposed privatising Hutchison Global Communications at 65 cents a share. Son Richard offered to buy out Sunday's shares at - snakes alive! - 65 cents. And the coincidences stretch further than just that. The flagship company of Richard Li's financier, Francis Yuen Tin-fan, is Pacific Century Insurance. Its stock code? 65. unlucky number On the subject of stock codes, blue chip Cosco Pacific (1199) is spinning off China Cosco (1919). All well and good, except that in Cantonese 1-9-1-9 is yat gau yat gau, which also sounds like the expression for 'a real mess'. Not that that's any reflection on this quality IPO. full marks for effort We understand if the good folks at British retailer Marks & Spencer are a bit tired of their brand's reputation for being, well, just a little low-brow. That could be why Marks & Sparks yesterday opened its new Times Square store with a classically understated black and white theme, complete with an exhibition of B&W photos. This was the caption accompanying the photo 'Snow Girl': 'Beyond the photo itself present [sic] the surrealistic trend, it demonstrates a nature figure underlined the cerebral conceptual nature of the performance experience. The pictorial perspective manipulated the gratified pleasure of desiring.' A case of trying too hard, perhaps. roller-coaster macau poll Ahhhh, politics Pearl River Delta style. First Hong Kong's sham election for chief executive ended (aptly enough) without an election yesterday, after The Donald sealed up enough nominations to be declared the winner automatically. Across the pond in Macau, meanwhile, legislator David Chow Kam-fai announced the tenant list for his new Fisherman's Wharf development, the soft-launch of which is scheduled for September 15. Macau's own Legislative Council election is due on September 25. Mr Chow has not yet announced whether he intends to run again. But if, as expected, he does, his long-delayed amusement park - complete with roller-coaster ride and volcano - will open just in time to give him a burst of pre-election publicity. 'The opening of Fisherman's Wharf has nothing to do with the election,' Mr Chow assured us yesterday.