The Korea Herald


Shares of Samsung companies soar on chairman’s death rumors

By Korea Herald

Published : June 30, 2016 - 15:13

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[THE INVESTOR] Shares of Samsung affiliates soared on June 30 after a rumor about chairman Lee Kun-hee’s death began spreading quickly in the afternoon. But Samsung Group flatly denied the rumor. 

Samsung C&T, the construction and trading unit and the de facto holding company of the group, saw its shares increase almost 5 percent to close at 123,000 won (US$106) compared to the day before. More than 2.2 million shares were traded, a seven-fold surge from the previous day.

Other key affiliates such as Samsung Life Insurance and Samsung SDS that are closely linked to the group’s ownership structure also gained a big boost.

Shares of the flagship Samsung Electronics also increased more than 2 percent to end at 1.42 million won. 

Samsung Group headquarters in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul Samsung Group headquarters in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul

The ailing Samsung patriarch has been hospitalized since May 2014 when he suffered a severe heart attack.

“The rumor is groundless,” a Samsung spokesperson told The Investor. Samsung usually doesn’t respond to market speculations.

This is not the first time that Samsung shares have fluctuated on the chairman’s rumored death. In April 2015, Samsung affiliates suffered a plunge in their stock prices, with a combined 20 trillion won (US$17 billion) in market value evaporating.

In the meantime, Korea Exchange, the country's stock market operator, warned of  a stock fraud seeking short-term profit-taking, asking Samsung to make a regulatory filing over the rumor by the noon next day.

Earlier in the day, an unconfirmed mobile message spreading fast within the market, saying Samsung Group would make an official announcement about the chairman’s death at 3 p.m. The memo added Lee’s death was already notified to the presidential office.

By Lee Ji-yoon (