So my client is very influential. Talented and driven. He has given himself the mandate to change the skylines of the Island turning the real estate space into a platform to test his resolve.
With a portfolio valued in trillions made up of some of the most magnificent structures that dot the ikoyi, VI skylines, I remain shocked that he wants more.
Edgar, I need an extra N200m. We need to finish some projects. The ease with which he says these things and the ease with which he delivers on his mandate makes me admire and want to get closer.
So I move. The firm is a little-known firm but with deep pockets. The MD is shy and can hardly look you in the eye.
He is surrounded by two able lieutenants who understand the market and who like me.
Edgar, we will give you the N200m but for 90 days bring the paperwork and we have a deal.
What is the rate I ask? They say let’s finish the process first. I say ok and went to bed.
Six weeks later, I hear 36% per annum. If u are a finance person you will understand what just happened. Only a Columbian drug lord will take that quantum of Funds at that tenor at that rate.
From experience, you know that what is being told you is that,’ we don’t have the money but I’m ashamed to tell you or we do not have the experience to play at this level ‘
The first law in these matters is the higher the sum the lower the rate. So you can do 100,000 to sleep with ur girlfriend at 5% flat which is 60% per annum cos that could be a bridge-type loan but not 200m at that kind of rate.
People take it o especially people who do not have the intention of paying back. But this was not my client.
So we had wasted 6 weeks and we’re back to zero with me losing my fees.
So one clear morning, I walked into my client’s office admiring his prof Peller outfit. He wants dramatic apparel which comes out well but is strange seeing that he is introverted and shy.
Edgarrrrrr, he screams try yourself. We are going for N3.9b and we must deliver in 7 days.
I look at him. These kinds of things drive me. My adrenaline and I live for them. As he spoke, I remembered Albert Okumagba of blessed memory who said, ‘ guys we are raising N50b. We are taking this market. I screamed.
I delivered almost N2b of that money and got a commission that afforded me the life of a rap star with me touring Europe and America and staying in the Hotel the Beetles stayed when they first came to New York.
So this was I standing on the 5th floor of this magnificent building and listening to this artist who was a maverick in building design test my manhood.
He teased me. Edgar this will show if u are a has-been or you still have it. Are u still the super salesman or you are now just looking for kobo kobo for your plays?
I said,’ Lord, I will raise this money. Let’s go.
That night I can’t sleep as his words taunted me. Are u still the man? His Igbo voice racked my brain.
Self-doubt began to creep in. We formed Hamilton and George just to do this. We had noticed that there were no real placement agents in the market. Everybody just went to arbitrage and go and sit down.
This was it. This was the point I had to be a man or just forget it.
The structure was right. The offer had good backing and the parties to the offer were first class. The product was strong and the Trustees were the biggest on the market. No excuse.
7 days. We had to move. I looked at the market and zeroed in on the first. The first would shore up ur confidence or kill it.
I called my sister. Beautiful and fair and I say, I have an offer beautiful rate, secured and tied to some of the most exquisite real estate u will find in Africa. I need N50m.
She says what rate and tenor. I tell her. She says add.5% on your max rate and I give you N300m
I said deal. I could sell this to my principal. What is .5%? This had to open the door.
Gbolahun, I need N500m I called next. He said what for. I explained he said we will deal send documents. I did.
Hung. Had to go through the investment committee. I called his Director my friend Femi what’s up. The optics are good but we need to see the order book he said.
By this time, time was going 3 days into the seven days and nothing yet.
These are the times where I love marketing. The darkest times, cos that is when my brain fires.
I call Tolu my egbon. Bros I said in a calm confident voice I need N500m from u guys. I have people queueing to take this offer but I need you to be on it if not only for the rates but also for my optics
He says send two emails to my people and copy me. I do and two days after I got the call.
We are committing N200m. I say cool.
7th day and we had only N600m our counterparts had dropped N100m
Then I remembered BGL. I remembered Henry who use to set up a war room and say Guys we are not going anywhere if we don’t raise this money. Call your wives and tell them that I Henry said that.
This is the beauty in investment banking- the sale.
I said guys let’s create a war room let’s give ourselves another 7 days.
The war room was the best in investment banking sales. We had Bimbo a veteran who had seen so many wars. He was with his brother Raji another Veteran and then we had a rookie Grace who read theatre but was a revelation.
As she made the calls. I marveled. Her calmness, her clarity, her confidence, and much more importantly how she handled rejection. She is a natural. Far better than me.
Bimbo will drop the phone and announce. Ohh we have three subsidiaries of a bank. N300M. WE WILL SHOUT.
By this time tension was crazy. We were soaked. No more erection for me and I had to drink coke.
We had crossed the N1.6b mark and still had a long way to go.
No competition. We were partners, we were on the same team we had to deliver on this mandate
Then the client works in he has N1b. Ohh my God. How can an architect take us out? Ohhh my God.
We needed to push. We pushed. Calls were ringing. The market was being flustered. I was chasing people. I blocked Harry on his sickbed.
He was trying to take his medication. I say give me N50m bf u drink it tablet don’t sleep on me. Grace was making calls, Bimbo was sweating as he pulled in everything he had.
Rasaq was calm but u could see he needed this to happen only our N1b man was in a smirk. He was defeating us.
Suddenly Bimbo says do you know these people. It was a new bank the COO is my friend I called him.
He asks all the questions and says we want more than just returns. We want proceeds, we want the whole 9 yards I say forget it.
I drop the phone. We had three more days. I ran to Efe ex Barclay’s now in private wealth management. Give me the damn money. He says we do not have long term funds we can do 90 days and not 2years
Then I saw the chat it was Bimbo. Edgar, they are doing N1b the new Bank had changed their minds
I peed. I looked at Efe and said see u. Rushed out straight to the war room.
We could see the promised land. We had hit 3.750. We needed just N200 to go and this was the second to the last day.
Bimbo calmly placed the last call. By this time I was fagged out and exhausted. I was missing my mum and my fingers couldn’t place another call.
As Bimbo dialed, Grace was getting another rejection. She smiled at me and said,’ My lord who next. I loved her passion.
Bimbo said we got it N150m in. We had made it
The small group had delivered Capital Market history. We had just delivered the very first successful private placement of that size in a long while.
I said,’ mbok give me afang
And gratitude. Always say thank you.
Duke of Shomolu
Hamilton and George Limited