(from left) Koo Bon-sung, former vice president of Ourhome, and Koo Ji-eun, vice president of Ourhome (Ourhome)
The sibling feud over Ourhome, a Korean food company, has reignited as Koo Bon-sung, Ourhome’s former vice president and the eldest heir, has launched a legal challenge against his sister, current Vice President Koo Ji-eun.
Koo Bon-sung and Koo Mi-hyeon, the eldest sister of the Koo family, released a statement Tuesday saying that they have filed a requisition with the Seoul Southern District Court to convene a temporary shareholders meeting. They are seeking to pass a vote to appoint 48 new members to the board of directors and to unseat the current 21 board members appointed by Koo Ji-eun.
According to the statement, the two intended to sell their combined 58.62 percent of company shares, but said Ourhome had refused to cooperate. They requested data on the investment performance of Hacor, the company’s US-based subsidiary, in a bid to appeal to possible buyers.
“We need neutral board members who will comply with future buyers’ requests,” the statement said, adding that the two shareholders only seek to be part of the board until the sell-off is completed.
But Ourhome blasted Koo Bon-sung for attempting to take control of the firm again through the shareholders meeting.
Ourhome said that the company has been cooperative with the two shareholders.
“We have requested La Defense Partners, the two shareholders’ advisory firm on the matter, for the necessary documents including power of attorney, to start the sell-off process, but didn’t receive them,” the company said.
Ourhome also criticized Koo for demanding 100 billion won ($80 million) in dividends as the company’s management and staff are working hard to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
The court will decide whether to grant the temporary shareholders meeting in three months. If the court disapproves, Koo can still appeal, and the case could drag on.
Industry sources say Koo Ji-eun might try to win back her sister Mi-hyeon, who previously helped her to take the throne.
In 2021, the three sisters -- Mi-hyeon, Myung-jin and Ji-eun -- voted out Koo Bon-sung from his vice president post, on the grounds of a driving scandal and salary overpayment.
But industry insiders say Koo Mi-hyeon ultimately decided to team up with her brother because she couldn’t receive her share of some 16 billion won in dividends. Koo Ji-eun decided not to pay dividends to shareholders this year, even though the company turned a profit.
Ourhome separated from LG Group in 2000. Chairman Koo Ja-hak, who has stepped down from management, is the third son of LG founder Koo In-hwoi and the younger brother of Koo Ja-kyung, LG Group’s honorary president.
By Byun Hye-jin (email@example.com)