BUSINESS

[Newsmaker] Kumho chief refuses to give up trademark rights of tire unit

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Apr 28, 2017 - 16:04
  • Updated : Apr 29, 2017 - 10:20
Kumho Asiana Group Chairman Park Sam-koo announced Friday that he will not relinquish Kumho Tire’s trademark rights to China’s Doublestar Co., which is currently in negotiations to acquire Korea’s No. 2 tire company.

Park had announced last week that he would not exercise his right to buy back the company’s tire-making affiliate, but it appears he is still looking to throw a wrench in Doublestar’s acquisition of the brand, which would allow it to become China’s largest tiremaker. 
Kumho Asiana Chairman Park Sam-koo

Kumho Industrial, an affiliate of Kumho Asiana Group, currently holds the rights for Kumho Tire’s trademark until April 30 next year. Although Park could shorten or revise these rights, the Kumho Asiana Group Chairman shows no signs of backing down.

Park’s announcement last week to bow out from the sale negotiation allowed creditor banks and Qingdao Doublestar to continue finalizing talks, which resumed Monday. However, his refusal to allow the Chinese tiremaker to use the Kumho Tire trademark may not only cause further delays, but may also force creditors to lower the purchasing price or even render the entire requisition dead, as Doublestar had originally requested a maximum 20-year use of the Kumho Tire trademark.

Doublestar signed a stock purchase agreement with Kumho creditors in March to purchase a 42.01 percent controlling stake in Kumho Tire in a deal worth roughly 955 billion won ($831 million).

However, if Doublestar decides not to acquire the controlling stake of Kumho Tire within the allotted six-month time frame, the company will be bumped from its preferred-bidder status, giving Park a new pre-emptive right to purchase the shares.

The Kumho Asiana Group Chairman has been adamant that he will do everything in his power to find a way to keep Kumho Tire, continuously referring to the entire deal as “unjustified” and “unfair.”

His previous request to the company’s creditors to form a consortium so he can buy back Kumho Tire was rejected. He has purportedly been excluded from all ongoing sale negotiations.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)