Orion said to be interested in Homeplus

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Orion said to be interested in Homeplus

Confectionery giant Orion is rumored to be considering a bid for major discount store Homeplus.

According to the financial industry, Orion has named Nomura Financial Investment as an adviser and plans to take part in the preliminary bidding for the Korean retailer at the end of this month. It will partner with private equity funds as financial investors, who will be financing the acquisition but will not meddle in its management.

Hur Inn-chul, vice chairman of Orion, is rumored to be spearheading the acquisition. Hur has experience in major buys, leading Shinsegae’s takeover of Walmart Korea in 2006.

Orion, however, downplayed such rumors in a statement Monday. The company said it is considering bidding but has yet to make a decision.

Earlier this month, British retail giant Tesco put its Korean retail business with more than 400 branches in the country up for sale. In April, it suffered what is considered to be the biggest loss in British retail history.

According to Reuters, several private equity firms have shown interest in buying out the Korean retailer, including KKR, Carlyle, CVC, TPG as well as MBK Partners.

The asking price for Homeplus is reportedly more than 7 trillion won ($6.3 billion).

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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