Retail rivals mulling takeover of electronic goods chain
Lotte Shopping and E-mart revealed on Tuesday intentions to buy ET Land, an electronic goods retail chain.
Lotte Shopping said that it is examining the takeover but nothing is decided yet, following Korea Exchange’s call to confirm the spreading market speculation.
“Detailed decisions will be made public within a month regarding the buy,” said the company.
Shinsegae Group, which was also rumored to be eying ET Land, answered that the story is “groundless.” E-Mart, a subsidiary of Shinsegae, however, said that it hopes to buy ET Land but nothing is confirmed yet.
SK Networks claimed last month that it is interested the buy as well.
Retail industry insiders see that the sale of Hi Mart, the nation’s No. 1 electronic appliance retailer, is a big reason for the ET Land sale-war between the rival conglomerates.
Eugene Corporation, the largest shareholder of Hi Mart, resumed on Friday the sale process of the retailer which had been halted due to the former CEO’s embezzlement charges. The company will accept the Letter of Intent until Monday.
Lotte Group, as well as other large retail companies, hoped to acquire Hi Mart when it first came out in the market in December. But insiders say that the expensive price is making bidders turn to ET Land as plan B.
Hi Mart, which has been dominating the market with about 35 percent share for years, is valued at about 2.6 trillion won ($2.2 billion).
ET Land is fourth in the market with about a 9 percent market share. It is about one-third the size of Hi Mart, operating 110 stores throughout the nation. Last year, it marked the total sales of 534.9 billion won and loss of 473 million won.
Both Lotte Shopping and E-Mart has been expanding its electronic appliance sales. Lotte Shopping’s Lotte Mart recently opened Digital Park, a shop-in-shop where consumers can try and buy electronic goods; and E-Mart opened Matrix, a store of a similar concept.
By Park Min-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)