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31 Jan 2017

IMM’s Acquisition of Equity Stake in Woori Bank

Yulchon successfully advised IMM Private Equity, one of the most active Korean PE houses, in its acquisition of a 6% equity stake in Woori Bank, the third largest commercial bank by asset size in Korea.


The Korean government has been the largest shareholder of Woori Bank for the past 16 years, since it bailed out three commercial banks and merged them into one during the national financial crisis back in 1998. Since then, the Korean government had tried to sell its stake of Woori Bank to private investors on four occasions, but it did not proceed successfully. The Korean government launched its fifth try for privatization of Woori Bank around late 2016 and introduced a plan to sell a 4% to 8% stake to multiple major bidders.


IMM Private Equity participated in the final bidding process and was selected as one of the successful bidders. The Korean government selected 7 bidders as winners in total, and IMM Private Equity was awarded the right to acquire a 6% stake thus becoming the top major shareholder of the 7 newcomers.


This acquisition was the first case in which a PE house acquired more than the 4% threshold (which is the maximum amount of equity in a bank that can be acquired by a non-financial entity without the approval of the financial authorities) of a Korean commercial banks since the 1998 financial crisis of Korea. Yulchon successfully advised IMM Private Equity during stringent review process by the Korean financial authorities on the proposed acquisition of a 6% equity stake in Woori Bank.


Furthermore, Yulchon advised IMM Private Equity on the entire transaction process – legal due diligence on Woori Bank, review of the bidding package, advice on the bidding strategy, formation of the investment vehicles and negotiation on the transaction documents.


Under the overall direction of Hee Woong Yoon, Head of the Corporate & Finance Group, Jin Kook Lee, Joon Hyung Kim, Chae Yeon An, and Hyung Joon Park advised on the transaction.

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