The way to a shareholder's heart is through the stomach There are a couple of sweeteners in the revived offer by Koo Ming-kown to privatise Nam Tai Electronic & Electrical Products. Having raised the price by 2 HK cents to HK$1.52, he is now promising to accelerate the payments to shareholders so that they get their cheques in five days instead of 10 if and when the offer is accepted. But what might be the clincher for some is a buffet brunch at the Four Seasons Hotel. Mr Koo has booked two harbour-view rooms for a three-hour shareholders' luncheon forum this Sunday to remind people to vote. The cost of the buffet is believed to be a few hundred dollars per head, only a fraction of the additional HK$8 million incurred for his renewed offer. Two months ago, Nam Tai's privatisation plan was defeated after being approved by 88.46 per cent of shareholders - 1.54 per cent short of the mandatory privatisation requirement of 90 per cent. The company later explained that an intermediary had forgotten to vote for the privatisation on its clients' behalf, and asked the Securities and Futures Commission to allow it to reopen the offer. When the securities watchdog turned down the request, Nam Tai threatened to apply for voluntary liquidation. This resulted in a stern reprimand from the SFC and earned Mr Koo a ban from the securities market for two years for breaching the takeovers code. However, after he made an apology, Mr Koo was given a second chance to privatise the company. Mr Koo's case won the support of Li Ka-shing, who publicly said it was easier to wind down a company than privatise it, because if anyone wanted to stir up trouble, they could make it impossible. Yesterday, Mr Koo (below) apologised to shareholders for failing to do the best for them. Despite the fact that Nam Tai was listed at HK$3.88 in April 2004, the current offer of HK$1.52 is a rich 166 per cent premium to the 57 HK cents the stock was trading at in February when Mr Koo first announced the buyout bid. 'If a privatisation is advantageous to the major shareholder while not hurting the minority shareholders, it is a good deal,' said Mr Koo. Stranded at sea If Mr Koo's privatisation journey has not been easy, neither was his recent cruise trip. Three weeks ago, he embarked on a luxury cruise in the Gulf with 10 buddies, including several of his company's non-executive directors, but after setting sail, their liner was denied entry at Salalah in Oman because a crew member had come down with suspected swine flu. As a result, the ship had to stay out at sea for four days until the crew member recovered - from what turned out to be normal flu. But that was not the most memorable part. Mr Koo recalled yesterday how the cruise ship spent one day in the Gulf of Aden going at full speed because of the threat of Somali pirates. Just a passing glance A China Power International Development press conference without chief executive Li Xiaolin is like a fashion show without a model. The fashion-conscious 48-year-old executive addressed an afternoon investors' presentation for her company's latest 4.6 billion yuan (HK$5.22 billion) acquisition but missed most of the press conference afterwards. Reporters at first thought the daughter of former premier Li Peng had gone to powder her nose before appearing before the press, but she only managed to join the last five minutes of the briefing, saying she had had to attend to an 'urgent matter'. However, she still managed to grab most of the media attention with her all-white executive look. Ties that bind What is it with Richard Li Tzar-kai and Singapore? He made his name in business by beating Singapore Telecommunications to the punch in snapping up Cable & Wireless HKT in 2000. His flagship, Pacific Century Regional Developments, is listed there. He has great respect for the island state's patriarch Lee Kuan Yew. Now he's planning to move his new baby son, Ethan, there to be close enough to his grandad but away from the media spotlight in Hong Kong.