Viva Republica, a South Korean financial technology unicorn that operates money-transfer platform Toss, and Seoul-based IMM Private Equity have joined the preliminary bid to buy LG Uplus’ payment gateway operation, industry sources said Aug. 6.
Viva Republica and IMM are two of five bidders in the deal roughly valued at up to 400 billion won ($328.9 million). Potential bidders Naver, Kakao and KG Inicis are said to have walked away from the bidding.
Bid manager Deloitte Anjin will shortlist the bidders by as early as next week. The preferred bidder will be selected in September, following due diligence.
Payment gateways refer to intermediaries that authorize electronic payment processing. KG Inicis, LG Uplus and NHN Korea Cyber Payment take more than a combined 70 percent of market share in Korea, where credit cards are a popular means of payment both online and offline.
LG Uplus, one of Korea’s three major telco firms, has sought to retreat from payment gateway operation since this year. The company is moving to split off the PG operation by August.
By Son Ji-hyoung (firstname.lastname@example.org)