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Mirae Asset denies takeover bid for Italian luxury brand

Mirae Asset Financial Group, Korea’s major mutual fund manager, on Monday formally denied a local report that it is seeking to take over an Italian luxury brand maker.

“There is no truth in the news report,” a spokesman at the company’s fund management division told The Korea Herald. “Although our policy is not to comment on such deals, what I can say is that we are not considering such a takeover bid,” he said without elaborating on the issue further.

The Yonhap news agency earlier reported that Mirae Asset is mulling taking over a Italian company to shore up its global expansion, citing unidentified business sources. The takeover bid seemed to be aimed at the fast-growing luxury market in China, while taking advantage of the enticing prices of Italian luxury brands put on the block amid the deepening the EU debt crisis.

Although Mirae Asset formally denied the latest takeover rumor, the company is at the forefront of the acquisition market. Early this year, Mirae Asset acquired asset management firms in Canada and Taiwan. In May, it bought out U.S.-based Acushnet Co., which owns golf brands Titleist and FootJoy, in partnership with Korean sportswear maker Fila Korea.

Behind a flurry of takeover deals is expansion-minded Mirae Asset chairman Park Hyeon-joo, who recently said the company would continue to engage in mergers and acquisitions to form a global network.

While most Korean financial firms are focused on the domestic market, Mirae Asset has been extending its network to other emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India and Vietnam. It has also expanded into advanced capital markets including Hong Kong, U.K. and the U.S.

By Yang Sung-jin (insight@heraldcorp.com)
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