Major Korean corporations are speeding up the merger and acquisition of foreign companies with the global economy showing some signs of recovery and conditions favorable for M&A being formed amid the strong won and low interest trends.
These days, the Korean office of Permira, one of the largest private equity funds in Europe, is finding itself flooded with inquiries from large businesses as well as requests for interviews concerning cross-border M&A. “The number of such requests was close to zero until last year, but major local corporation with abundant cash are seeking M&A opportunities very aggressively in Europe more recently,” said Lee Soo-yong, who represents the regional office.
Kim Sae-jin, associate lawyer at Paul Hastings, echoed by saying, “We’re already engaged in four cross-border M&A and investment projects going on and have received no less than six new inquiries in this year alone, which has been quite unprecedented for the past 10 years in our overseas M&A business.” He continued, “This year will be the year when the largest number of M&As are made since the Lehman crisis in that not only the top 10 in the industry but also many more companies of middle standing are looking to take over foreign firms by means of their own teams to that end. Though Korean companies’ M&A efforts that had continued since 2007 came to a halt in the wake of the Lehman Brothers debacle, they didn’t get rid of the teams and are moving to make better use of them now as the global economy is recovering.”