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IMM PE set for large investments after successful divestments

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Seen is a screen capture of IMM Private Equity’s website.


By Park Jae-hyuk

Attention is being focused on the next investment target of IMM Private Equity (IMM PE), as the domestic private equity firm (PEF) completed successful divestments last week from W Concept and Taihan Electric Wire.

The PEF and Citigroup Global Markets Securities, the underwriter for the sale of W Concept, selected Shinsegae Group’s e-commerce unit SSG.com as the preferred bidder to acquire the womenswear fashion platform, Thursday, and signed a share purchase agreement.

SSG.com will take over a full stake in W Concept ― 80 percent held by IMM PE and 20 percent held by ISE Commerce ― after the Fair Trade Commission approves the merger deal.

Considering that a regulatory filing by ISE Commerce showed the company sold its stake in W Concept for 53 billion won ($47 million), IMM PE will receive 212 billion won after closing the deal. The PEF had paid 61.2 billion won for acquiring the 80 percent stake in W Concept in 2017.

The sale of Taihan Electric Wire to Hoban Group, which was signed three days before the W Concept deal, also enabled IMM PE to make a handsome profit.

“We signed a share purchase agreement with Hoban Group, taking into account its non-price factors that can further nurture Taihan Electric Wire, rather than considering the price it offered,” IMM PE said in its statement.

Its earnings from Taihan Electric Wire, however, are considered significant among market insiders.

After buying a 70 percent stake in the electric wire manufacturer for 300 billion won in 2015, IMM PE sold its 30 percent stake for over 270 billion won through five block deals and the remaining 40 percent for 252 billion won through its recent transaction with Hoban Group.

Based on these track records, the PEF is expected to focus more on its new investments and management of its portfolio companies.

According to industry sources, it is on the shortlist for bidders to acquire a 49 percent stake in SK Lubricants, which is estimated at 1 trillion won, along with Korea Investment Partners, Apollo Global Management from the United States and ENEOS from Japan.

In addition, market insiders are wondering whether or not IMM PE will bet trillions of won on envisioned mega-acquisition deals involving businesses related to future mobility, online platforms and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) standards.