FTC gives nod to Lotte’s planned bid for Hi-MartThe antitrust watchdog said yesterday that it has approved Lotte Shopping’s move to buy a stake in electronics appliance retailer Hi-Mart, saying that it does not undermine competition in related industries.
The approval comes after Lotte Shopping, the flagship affiliate of retail-oriented conglomerate Lotte Group, signed a contract to purchase a 65.25 percent stake in Hi-Mart for 1.24 trillion won ($1.13 billion) from Eugene Corporation and others in July. The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) received a notification of the purchase for endorsement in the same month.
“We conducted deliberation on Lotte’s move to purchase the stake in Hi-Mart and concluded that it does not hurt competition in related industries,” the FTC said in an e-mailed press release. “We informed each company involved in the deal of the results.”
The results are based on its analysis on 27 regions to measure changes in market shares after the deal, their stores’ proximity to other competitors and possible price hikes caused by their increased market influence.
Lotte’s sales reached 6.9 trillion won last year and if this is combined with Hi-Mart’s numbers, the total exceeds 10.3 trillion won, making it one of the top three retailers in Korea, according to market watchers.
Hi-Mart ranks No. 1 in terms of home appliance and IT product sales.
“We approved the deal as we determined that their combined businesses would not hurt the market significantly,” the FTC said.