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M&As by large companies jump this year

This photo shows the company's M16 fab in Icheon, south of Seoul. (SK hynix Inc.)
This photo shows the company's M16 fab in Icheon, south of Seoul. (SK hynix Inc.)
Corporate mergers and acquisitions (M&As) by big South Korean firms rose sharply in the first nine months of this year as they revved up efforts to find new growth engines, data showed Wednesday.

The country's top 500 companies spent a combined 28.8 trillion won ($24.4 billion) on M&As in the January-September period, more than double last year's spending of 12.6 trillion won, according to the data from corporate tracker CEO Score.

The number of M&A cases came to 126 in the nine-month period, up 31.3 percent from last year's 96 cases. A total of 29 cases were worth 100 billion won or more this year, compared with 21 last year.

The biggest deal is SK hynix Inc.'s acquisition of Intel Corp.'s NAND business worth 10.3 trillion won, which is awaiting China's regulatory approval. The deal has already received the green light from the United States, South Korea, Europe, Taiwan, Brazil, Britain and Singapore.

Top discount retailer E-Mart Inc.'s takeover of eBay Korea came next with 3.6 trillion won, followed by game developer Netmarble Corp.'s purchase of Hong-Kong based social casino game company SpinX Games with 2.6 trillion won and top air carrier Korean Air Lines Co.'s acquisition of smaller rival Asiana Airlines Inc. with 1.8 trillion won.

Tech behemoth Kakao Corp. recorded the largest number of M&As with 23 cases this year, trailed by construction company SK Ecoplant with 10 and Netmarble with six.

The data also showed the top 500 firms have spent more than 53 trillion won to acquire or merge with 346 companies over the last three years. (Yonhap)

Korea Herald daum