A consortium led by CJ Group, a South Korean food and entertainment conglomerate, said Monday that it has signed a contract to purchase a controlling 37.62 percent stake in Korea Express for 1.85 trillion won (US$1.75 billion).
CJ Cheiljedang Corp. and CJ GLS Inc. will each pay 922.5 billion won to take over South Korea's largest logistics firm from two subsidiaries of cash-strapped Kumho Asiana Group, the CJ affiliates said.
Asiana Airlines Inc., the country's No. 2 air carrier, and Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co. plan to seal the deal to sell most of their shares in Korea Express to the consortium by the end of this month, according to CJ.
If financial investors seek to sell their shares in Korea Express, the CJ-led consortium will add additional shares in the logistics company, which could make the deal worth as much as 2.26 trillion won.
Last month, CJ Group outbid a consortium of top steelmaker POSCO and Samsung SDS Co., an affiliate of South Korea's top conglomerate Samsung Group, for a controlling stake in Korea Express.
The sale of Kumho Asiana's logistics arm will likely boost the industrial group's effort to complete its debt restructuring plan. Kumho Asiana has been saddled by a cash crunch since its purchase of Daewoo Engineering in 2006.