Few suitors emerge for Interpark stake

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Few suitors emerge for Interpark stake

Shares of Interpark tumbled Wednesday on reports that the e-commerce company failed to attract much interest in a sale of a large stake in the company.  
Interpark shares fell 12.51 percent on Wednesday to close at 8,390 won ($7.24) after falling as much as 17.94 percent in morning trading. 
Investors were spooked by news that companies cited as potential buyers of the 28.41 percent stake – Yanolja, Naver and Kakao – didn’t participate in preliminary bidding that closed on Aug. 31. Before the preliminary bidding took place, NH Investment & Securities, which is handling the sale, sent a summary of the particulars to companies it considered potential buyers.
GoodChoice, a local accommodations reservation app, reportedly expressed interest, although it declined to confirm it.  
Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed that Naver and Kakao didn’t throw in their hats, as reported. Yanolja declined to comment.  
Interpark CEO Lee Ki-hyung is looking for a buyer for a 28.41 percent stake he and connected parties own. Lee directly owns 27.71 percent.
The shares owned by Lee are worth 188.8 billion won based on the closing price Wednesday. The sellers reportedly hope to get between 200 million won and 300 million won.
A buyer of the stake will control the company. 
Started in 1997, Interpark is one of the oldest e-commerce sites in Korea with a focus on concert and travel tickets.  
The company was hit hard by the pandemic. Its shares fell as much as 90 percent from their 2016 peak to a low in early 2020.
Interpark reported a net loss of 25.8 billion won in 2020 from a net profit of 6.5 billion won a year earlier.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]
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