Tony Fung Wing-cheung, the son of legendary broker Fung King-hey, is seen as an aggressive dealmaker by market players, with the proposed gaming project in Australia’s Queensland state adding one more feather in his cap.
His father was one of Hong Kong’s earliest property developers who teamed up with close friends Lee Shau-kee and Kwok Tak-seng to invest in property and other businesses since the late 1950s.
Nicknamed the “Three Musketeers”, the trio split up and went their own way, with Kwok forming Sun Hung Kai Properties and Lee founding Henderson Land Development.
Fung King-hey’s interest in finance led him to set up Sun Hung Kai Securities in 1969, which soon became the city’s largest brokerage house.
Tony Fung took the helm at Sun Hung Kai Securities at 34 after his father passed away in 1985. He continued to serve as chairman of the company until his family sold its 33.18 per cent stake to Allied Properties in 1996.
A year later, he set up his own investment bank, Yu Ming Investment Management, with partners. He bought shopping centres, retail outlets and other businesses and revamped them to make them more attractive in order to command higher rents.
Fellow brokers who have tracked his career are hence not surprised by his move to step into the Australian casino business.
His most well-known deal so far is the “one-cent” takeover bid of China Motor Bus in 2002, when Yu Ming proposed to acquire CMB shares at 1 HK cent each and then strip CMB’s assets to distribute a dividend of HK$90.59 per share. The offer collapsed but the attempt helped make his mark as a dealmaker.