Dollars and Sense

Power Brokers

Happily, though, in preparation for being a public company, Micro-Link had already begun to stock its board of directors with movers and shakers. So when the second deal went south, Morton and Duke were able to approach one of their prospective new board members, who also happened to command a vast personal fortune. Would he be interested in structuring a deal with the company?

It turned out he would. Then it turned out that the insurance company where he was executive vice president might want to participate as well. Then the deal got structured so that the only investor would be the insurance company. And when, after months of due diligence and negotiations, the vice president of planning at the insurance company told Morton, "Write me a list of everything you need cash for," Morton recalls, "it was one of the happiest days of my life."

But Morton's joy began to fade when the insurance company's MIS manager questioned Micro-Link's strategy for addressing the storage market. Without his backing, the whole deal began to tilt, until finally, it toppled-just two days after the insurer had asked for that list of proposed expenditures.

At this point, almost a year had gone by since Micro-Link started trying to raise money. But while Morton and Duke didn't have any capital to show for their efforts, they had something almost as good. "With all we had been through, with the seven drafts of the private placement memorandum, and with all the investors we had talked to," says Morton, "we had the confidence we could raise the money ourselves."

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This article was originally published in the July 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Dollars and Sense.

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