Continuing shift, SDS nabs largest stake in Secui

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Continuing shift, SDS nabs largest stake in Secui

Samsung SDS announced in a regulatory filing on Monday that it would acquire a 52.18 percent stake in Secui, a network security subsidiary of its affiliate S1, on Tuesday.

“We have decided to acquire the stake in Secui to beef up the mid- and long-term competitiveness of our cybersecurity business,” said Samsung SDS, the information and communications technology affiliate of Samsung Group, in a statement

Following the acquisition of its affiliate’s six million shares in Secui, worth 97 billion won ($80 million), SDS is set to become the top shareholder of Secui with a 56.52 percent stake. Samsung C&T, which was reborn on Sept. 1 after it merged with Cheil Industries, is the second-largest shareholder with an 8.7 percent stake.

The deal between SDS and Secui comes almost five months after SDS announced it would shift its corporate structure towards IT services for the manufacturing and logistics industries.

CEO Jun Dong-soo said that with the new initiative, the company aims to achieve sales of 20 trillion won by 2020 and become the top global IT company.

Founded in 2000, Secui specializes in network security technologies and the analysis of security threats. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman and heir apparent Jay Y. Lee was the top shareholder of Secui before S1 acquired his stake in 2001.

SDS’s acquisition of Secui signals the company is also seeing the integrated information security business as a new growth engine on top of IT services that would help it achieve its ambitious revenue goals over the next five years.

In June, SDS created a cybersecurity team and has been working with Samsung Electronics on a mobile security system called KNOX, as well as an identification system based on fingerprints.

SDS relies heavily on Samsung affiliates for revenue - Samsung Electronics, in particular. According to data released in 2013, the latest available, 3.4 trillion won, or 77.7 percent, out of SDS’s revenue of 4.4 trillion won came from Samsung affiliates in 2012.

SDS also said in a regulatory filing on Monday that it would hand over its education content business to subsidiary Credue for 75.3 billion won.

SDS received attention recently following its successful initial public offering last year. The company is also considered a key subsidiary of Samsung Group as Jay Y. Lee, who has been the de facto chairman, owns an 11 percent stake in it.

SDS’s growth is critical to Samsung Group’s revamping of its ownership structure after Chairman Lee was hospitalized in May last year following a heart attack.

Since the merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries, speculation has been running high that the revamped Samsung C&T would ultimately acquire SDS to merge the ICT, bio and medical sectors.

In March, Jay Y. Lee said that Samsung sees a “huge opportunity for innovation through the fusion of IT, medicine and bio.”

Samsung Electronics denied speculation during a conference call in July that it would acquire SDS.

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