SINGAPORE (Apr 22): One evening in February 2002, the telephone on my desk rang at an unusually late hour. The voice on the other end of the line identified itself as being that of Sir Ronald Brierley, the chairman of London-listed Guinness Peat Group.

The New Zealand-born entrepreneur and corporate raider was responding to a fax I had sent him earlier in the day asking for comment on the offer for Singapore-listed Inchcape Motors by its parent. Brierley had amassed a stake of more than 10% in Inchcape Motors, and was continuing to accumulate the stock at close to the offer price of $2.30 per share, creating speculation that the parent company would have to pay more to get him out of the way.

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