Carlyle exits Yakjin Trading for $12 million

After several failed attempts, U.S. private equity firm The Carlyle Group has divested its long-held stake in Yakjin Trading Corporation, a South Korean original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of apparel.

JS Corporation, a South Korean original design manufacturer of high-end bags, will buy a 100% stake in Yakjin, which is 70% owned by Carlyle’s fund — Carlyle Growth Korea IV — and the remaining 30% held by the family of Yakjin’s founder, for a total of 14.3 billion won ($12 million), according to a regulatory filing on August 21. The transaction will be completed by August 25.

Carlyle acquired the stake in the OEM business, which produces and exports apparel products for global brands including Gap and Banana Republic, for 204.8 billion won in 2013. The exit comes after its three previous failed attempts.

The first attempt was made in 2015 when Carlyle hired JP Morgan to sell its shareholding in the company. Some of the large South Korean retailers, including Hyundai Department Group and Shinsegae International, had initially showed interest but they eventually dropped out.

In the following year, Carlyle hired Mirae Asset Daewoo and Daishin Securities to take the company public on the South Korean stock exchange but it had to cancel the plans because of weak market conditions. Another attempt to sell its stake was made in 2018, which was also unsuccessful.

Carlyle has made 11 investments in South Korean businesses to date, including four made through its Asia buyout funds and seven made through its funds focused on growth capital investments in Asia. The firm’s latest investment in the country was security services company ADT Caps, which was sold to a consortium led by SK Telecom for 2.9 trillion won in 2018. (Reporting by Ar-rum Rho)