Bidder lineup for Woori brokerages takes shape

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Bidder lineup for Woori brokerages takes shape

The bidding to acquire Woori Investment and Securities will involve KB Financial Group and NH Nonghyup Financial Group, according to industry sources yesterday. Woori Financial Group, the country’s largest financial holding company, received preliminary bids from those interested in buying its six securities affiliates, including hot item Woori Investment and Securities, before deadline yesterday.

According to industry sources, three bidders - KB Financial Group, NH Nonghyup Financial Group and a private equity fund called Pine Street - have submitted preliminary bids to acquire four of the six Woori Financial Group’s brokerage affiliates, including Woori Investment and Securities, Woori Aviva Life Insurance, Woori Asset Management and Woori Financial Group Savings Bank.

There has been much attention on the bidding to buy Woori Investment and Securities along with the others as a package as the race is expected to involve competition between KB Financial Group Chairman Lim Young-rok and NH Nonghyup Group Chairman Yim Jong-yong, who are both former bureaucrats in the Finance Ministry. Both chairmen have expressed their strong desire to merge the brokerage firm into their own businesses.

Analysts note that the package price of Woori Investment and Securities is about 1.5 trillion won ($1.4 billion) to 2 trillion won. Daishin Securities was also known as a potential bidder, however, it instead submitted a document to purchase Woori F&I and Woori Financial, which will be sold separately from the package of four.

“We judged it would be better to raise profits by diversifying our businesses by merging other affiliates rather than expanding in size by acquiring Woori Investment and Securities,” said a Daishin Securities official.

Meanwhile, Woori Financial Group plans to receive bids next month and select a preferred bidder in January.

BY Lee Eun-joo, Lee Tae-Kyung []
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