[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s antitrust regulator said on Feb. 7 that the number of firms affiliated with local conglomerates on its watch list fell by 23 to 2,570 in the last three months.
The Fair Trade Commission said 26 conglomerates added 67 companies as their affiliates between Nov. 1-Jan. 30, while 29 other conglomerates removed 90 firms from their business groups.
The commission said mergers meant to improve business efficiency contributed to the decline in the number of affiliates during the period.
Kakao, operator of the top Korean mobile messenger KakaoTalk, acquired five Korean entertainment agencies.
Business groups with 10 trillion won (US$8.90 billion) in assets or more are categorized as conglomerates by the FTC and put on the watch list.
Those on the list are subject to a set of restrictions, including a ban on cross-shareholding and loan guarantees among affiliates.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)