Two potential buyers blow off Woori

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Two potential buyers blow off Woori

The sale of state-run Woori Financial Group again fell through yesterday after no prospective buyer bid for Korea’s top banking group, thwarting the government’s privatization plan for the third time.

The state-run Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. said in a statement that no preliminary bids were offered for Woori Finance. The KDIC owns a 56.97 percent stake in Woori Finance.
Earlier in the day, two prospective buyers said they were withdrawing from the bidding, raising the possibility that the sale plan may falter again.
The consortia, one led by Kyobo Life Insurance and IMM Private Equity and the other led by local private equity fund MBK Partners and the Korea Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives, said they will not make a bid for Woori.

“We decided not to participate in the preliminary bidding for Woori since there are legal issues that restrict our takeover,” said a spokesman for Kyobo Life Insurance, the country’s No. 2 life insurer.

An official from the Korea Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives also said its official position is not to join the preliminary bidding.

The consortia’s withdrawal came after KB Financial Group decided to drop out. KB Financial had been widely speculated as the most prospective bidder.

With the three potential buyers opting out, the government’s plan to sell 6.3 trillion won ($5.56 billion) worth of state-owned stake is on the verge of falling through.

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