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 Aekyung, Stonebridge Capital join hands for Asiana bid

Aekyung, Stonebridge Capital join hands for Asiana bid

By Kim Da-sol

Retail-to-flight conglomerate Aekyung Group said Monday that it has joined hands with home-grown equity fund Stonebridge Capital to form a consortium to acquire Asiana Airlines.

The two firms participated in the initial bid separately and were shortlisted to buying a controlling 31 percent stake in the country’s second-largest full-service carrier.

Aekyung said in a statement that the partnership with Stonebridge Capital is based on its “firm determination” to acquire Asiana, as well as previous collaboration experience.

Stonebridge Capital has also called the partnership an “ideal combination” to lead the growth of the domestic aviation industry. In 2017, it acquired a 10 percent stake in Aekyung Industrial.

“Among all global mergers and acquisitions in the airline industry, there has not been a single case where a company without experience has acquired an air carrier. The deal (if successful) betweeb Asiana Airlines and Aekyung Group, which owns Jeju Air, is in line with the global trend,” Aekyung said in a statement.

Kumho Asiana Group has reportedly completed the bidding presentation from two other bidders last week: a consortium led by local activist fund Korea Corporate Governance Improvement and a consortium formed by Hyundai Development Company and Mirae Asset Daewoo.

The group said it plans to select a preferred bidder in November via its lead manager Credit Suisse to close the mega-deal valued at around 2 trillion won (1.7 billion).