Williams. David Williams. Not armed with a Walther PPK or an exploding pen but something nonetheless just as menacing — a rolodex as thick as a telephone book and a penchant for doing deals so personally rewarding that it makes Ahmed Fahour look like an unlucky pauper.
Racing around town in his new Aston Martin DB11, the car made famous by the Bond films, Williams is once again drowning in cash thanks to his latest wheeze, selling off printing and digital media company Wellcom for $265m to South Korea’s Innocean, which is owned by the families behind Hyundai and KIA.
Maybe Williams was just born lucky, but he seems to have a habit of always winning twice or more from the same deal. Not only does he win from the takeover, being a major shareholder in Wellcom through his merchant bank Kidder Williams as well as personal holdings, but his firm is also advising on the takeover. That’s nice. The explanatory booklet for the takeover was released yesterday, showing Wellcom will pay total fees to all its advisers of just under $3m.
Williams is a bit like the guy who can go into a revolving door behind you, and come out of it in front of you.
Of course Williams has a rewarding history with Wellcom and its founder Wayne Sidwell. Williams floated a business called Shomega for Sidwell in 1993 and then sold it to News Corp for PMP in 1996. Come 2001, after Sidwell had served his non-compete and technology had changed, he started from scratch with new technology and the business — Wellcom — was floated by, guess who? Yes, our man Williams.
Williams just has a licence to print money by the looks of it. And the colour of his Aston Martin? Red of course, it goes faster.