Everland stock fails to sell

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Everland stock fails to sell

The hyped sale of 4.25 percent stock in Samsung Everland held by the Korea Student Aid Foundation ended in failure yesterday.

According to Tong Yang Securities, the underwriter of the shares, of the 106,149 shares put on sale by the foundation only 50 percent had prospective buyers.

Of some 20 buyers - mostly private equity funds and asset management firms - who had submitted letters of intent in the preliminary bidding on March 8 and 9, only two or three have applied.

The minimum number of shares for purchase through the bidding was 5,000, with a value estimated at over 10 billion won ($8.8 million).

The foundation decided not to designate a buyer at this time, citing lower demand than expected and conflicts over the bidding price.

“The initial bidding has been ruptured, but we will have one or more rounds of bidding in the future,” said a foundation spokesman, without elaborating further.

Although the foundation had said earlier that selling back the shares to Samsung would be the worst-case scenario, industry watchers say that scenario may be one option.

Another option could be to block sales. Sources with Tong Yang Securities said no decision has been made regarding the method of future sales.

Uncertainties surrounding the Everland shares are the biggest culprits in the sluggish sales.

Investors, including wealthy individuals, paid attention to the operator of the nation’s largest outdoor theme park and catering service with vague hope for the shares listed in the future.

The spokesman of the foundation said there are many investors out there who are interested in buying Everland shares and blamed the failure to sell the shares on lack of information of the sale.

“That Samsung has made it clear that it has no plans to list the shares in the past several years also hurt investment sentiment.”

Everland is the de facto holding company of Samsung Group. In May last year, the foundation began the process of selling Everland shares that Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee had donated in 2006. The foundation wants to use the money to fund scholarships.

By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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