This file photo shows the main gate of SsangYong Motor`s Pyeongtaek plant, 70 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)
The race to acquire the troubled SsangYong Motor is heating up beyond expectations, with nine groups reportedly having expressed interest.
According to local reports, a total of nine have submitted letters of intent to buy a controlling stake in the automaker, which is currently under court receivership, before the Friday deadline.
They include Cardinal One Motors, set up by US-based auto importer and distributor HAAH Automotive Holdings, a consortium led by Korean electric bus maker Edison Motors, another led by Korean electric scooter maker Kpop Motors, Samra Midas Group and a local private equity.
Deal watchers had earlier predicted the race to be a two-way competition between HAAH and Edison. But with the last-minute entry of Samra Midas, which has shown a strong appetite for deals in the mergers and acquisitions scene recently, the competition appears to be growing hotter.
Up for sale is a majority stake in SsangYong, currently held by India’s Mahindra & Mahindra.
According to EY Hanyoung, the deal’s manager, the potential bidders will conduct preliminary due diligence from Aug. 2-27 before finalizing an offer.
The schedule for the main bidding process is not known, but SsangYong Motor said it hopes to select a preferred bidder within September.
Local reports said the buyer would have to assume SsangYong’s overdue debt worth 390 billion won ($339 million), on top of the deal’s price.