Hua Yang, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, looked around the room at the men seated at the table. "Thank you for your kind attendance gentlemen," he said as he bowed slightly. There was a gentle murmuring of politeness all around.
The CNOOC Ltd. CFO continued, "As you know, it was widely reported that Union Oil of California recently rejected our overtures. While it would have been a tremendous coup ..." Yang was interrupted by sudden gasps. "I beg your pardon. That was an unfortunate choice of wording. Allow me to correct it please. It would have been a tremendous boost to the company to have successfully completed the purchase of UNOCAL. However, we have managed something even more amazing. For the amazing low price of $145-million, we have acquired InstaPundit."
The silence was deafening.
Shouwei Zhou, President and Executive Director of CNOOC was the first to speak. "We have acquired what?"
Yang replied, "InstaPundit."
Zhou took a deep breath. "I think I am asking a question that is on everyone's mind: What is 'InstaPundit?'"
"It would be most appropriate for the Company Secretary to answer your concerns," said Yang and sat down as Yunshi Cao rose to his feet.
The combined Company Secretary, General Counsel and Senior Vice President looked around the table. "Gentlemen, while our company is very successful in its energy endeavors, we feel it is imperative that we diversify ourselves and take on a new line of business. To that end, we have entered the worldwide communications industry by obtaining the world's largest and most successful Weblog. That is InstaPundit."
Chengyu Fu cleared his throat. "That is all well and good, but it does not answer our questions. What is InstaPundit?"
Cao nodded. "I beg your pardon. Allow me to explain. InstaPundit is a Weblog, commonly called a 'blog.' It is a journal of articles containing news links and commentary. Many people visit Weblogs daily. And InstaPundit is the top Weblog."
Fu asked, "People come to the InstaPundit to read his news and his comments?"
Cao replied, "Yes, sir. That is correct. For example, yesterday InstaPundit's first post ... that is an article of news or commentary ... his first post was on the topic of the American space shuttle, the Russian offer to fly people to the moon, and Richard Branson's plans to build a space ship."
Fu thought for a minute. "What was his commentary?"
Cao looked at his computer screen. "Ah, here it is: 'Cool."
"'Cool?' The top blog commentary is 'cool?" asked Fu.
"Please provide me with another example," said Fu.
"Later in the morning, InstaPundit had a news report on arrests in the London bombings," said Cao.
"And the commentary?"
Cao paused. "'Stay tuned.'"
Fu was silent.
Cao went on. "Later in the day, InstaPundit said ..."
Fu raised his hand. "It is not necessary to continue. Would the senior management kindly step outside for a moment while the directors confer?"
Six men stood up and filed from the room, leaving eight men seated.
After several minutes, the senior management was summoned back in.
Fu nodded at Zhou, who stood and handed papers to Cao and Yang. Zhou said, "This is your notice of termination. Read the whole thing."
Fu added, "Indeed."