SK Holdings decided in a board meeting on March 5 to hand over the controlling stake of its brokerage arm worth 51.5 billion won (US$47.9 million), or 10 percent of the firm, to Seoul-based private equity firm J&W Partners.
If the deal gets the nod from the Financial Services Commission and J&W Partners manages to acquire all the shares until February 2019, SK Group will be free of regulatory drag for failing to divest itself of a financial arm.
SK Holdings, a major shareholder of SK Securities, has looked to sell its stake since June 2017. Korean laws stipulate that a business group with a holding company structure is banned from owning a financial subsidiary and is mandated to dispossess its financial arm within two years after the announcement to transition into a new group structure.
The SK conglomerate has introduced a holding company structure since August 2015 and was ordered to sell off its entire SK Securities stake. A consortium led by Cape Investment & Securities on Aug. 11, 2017 was chosen as the preferred bidder, but the conglomerate and the consortium failed to reach an agreement on the sale of SK Securities.
In February, the Fair Trade Commission slapped 2.96 billion won of fines on SK Holdings for failing to sell off SK Securities by a deadline in August and renewed the order for the sale by February next year.
Founded in 1955, SK Securities has been owned by SK Group since 1992.
By Son Ji-hyoung/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org