The Korea Herald


Anchor Equity-backed Fresheasy acquires smaller rival for W100b

By Byun Hye-jin

Published : Jan. 26, 2022 - 16:25

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The corporate logos of Fresheasy and Tasty9 (Fresheasy) The corporate logos of Fresheasy and Tasty9 (Fresheasy)

Korea’s largest meal kit provider Fresheasy said Wednesday it acquired its smaller rival Tasty9, the No. 2 player, for 100 billion won ($83.5 million) in a move to further strengthen its leadership in the burgeoning ready meal market here.

The latest deal is the fourth in a series of acquisitions it has carried out under new ownership. In October last year, Hong Kong-based Anchor Equity Partners acquired a controlling stake in Fresheasy for an estimated 300 billion won.

Over the three months, the firm took over three companies – meal kit provider Doctor Kitchen, diet food delivery firm Heodak and Line Logistics, a logistics firm specialized in freezer meals.

Largely buoyed by the latest acquisition deals, the valuation of Fresheasy is estimated to exceed 1 trillion won as it now dominates more than 75 percent of the market.

“We are still in talks with Tasty9 to decide on the stake-sharing ratio,” a company official. “Ultimately, we aim to expand the overall size of the easy meal market.”

But there are also concerns over overvaluation, considering a low-margin business model in the ready meal market along with the huge costs in the early stage of business. In 2020, the firm posted 67 billion won in net operating loss.

Launched in 2016, Fresheasy produces up to 100,000 ready meals a day and supports management, production, logistics and selling processes of partner companies.