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New LG Uplus CEO hints at CJ HelloVision acquisition in H1

The new head of the nation’s third-largest telecom company said Wednesday that the firm would make a final decision as to whether it will acquire a local cable TV service provider by June next year, making its merger and acquisition attempt official for the first time.

“We are going to decide whether to proceed with (acquiring the cable TV service provider) or not as soon as possible,” said LG Uplus CEO Ha Hyun-hoi at a press conference.

“I will make that decision happen within the first half of the year,” he said.

LG Uplus CEO Ha Hyun-hoi (LG Uplus)
LG Uplus CEO Ha Hyun-hoi (LG Uplus)

Though Ha did not mention the name of a company, it is widely known the telecom has been in talks with CJ HelloVision for such a deal. Industry insiders have said the two are already in the final stages of a deal and are ready to make an official statement.

LG Uplus is the fourth-largest provider in the nation’s cable TV market with 11.41 percent market share. If it acquires CJ HelloVision, which currently has 13.02 percent market share, LG Uplus would become the second-largest cable TV service provider, beating out SK Broadband. KT is the leader of the market, holding a 30.86 percent of market share.

CJ HelloVision has been listed on the market for sale since a failed M&A attempt by SK Telecom. In 2016, a deal worth 1 trillion won collapsed due to opposition from the antitrust agency. The Fair Trade Commission said it would not permit the merger plan, as it impedes fair market competition.

On growing concerns over the security risk of using network equipment manufactured by Huawei, Ha said the company has already sent the case to a Spain-based security verification institute to quell concerns.

Ha also vowed to take the lead in the 5G market by investing 4 trillion won in building network infrastructure. By the end of March, when smartphones using 5G service are launched, the company plans to secure leadership in the emerging market by facilitating wider network coverage in major cities in South Korea.

The company also plans to collaborate with automakers to develop various services based on 5G networks, including navigation services for self-driving vehicles. It is also working with LG Electronics and LG CNS to develop remote control systems to be applied to robots and smart factories.

Ha was holding his first press conference after taking the top position at LG Uplus in August.

The CEO is the top business strategist for LG Group. He moved to the group’s telecom unit in the first executive reshuffle carried out by new Chairman Koo Kwang-mo.

By Cho Chung-un (