OSB Savings Bank is again looking for a potential buyer, with a major domestic accounting firm appointed to restart a marketing process that was halted in 2019.

Industry sources said on Tuesday (February 2) that the sale manager has received letters of intent from possible buyers, and is expected to eventually launch a preliminary round of open competitive bidding.

Market insiders estimate the valuation of OSB Savings Bank at 1.5 times its net asset value. As the bank’s net assets amounted to 196.5 billion won ($175 million) in the third quarter of 2020, it is likely to be sold for around 300 billion won.

In 2019, owners Orix Corporation and Olympus Capital offered a combined 99.77% stake for sale. They unsuccessfully sought around 340 billion won, or about two times the bank’s net asset value of 171.3 billion, in a deal led by Samsung Securities.

Since then shareholders have looked at various ways of improving the bank’s governance structure and enterprise value, including pursuing bolt-on acquisitions and changing the deal structure to meet with the approval of financial authorities. Another option was to boost the bank’s enterprise value by putting it under a credit finance firm’s wing and then possibly look for a new owner.

It is expected to take more than a year to work through these scenarios, and the owners are likely to make a final decision after reviewing the offers from potential buyers. Market insiders will be studying whether Orix and Olympus Capital are offered a satisfactory price. The sale process is reportedly being led by Olympus Capital.

Valuations could increase after the Financial Services Commission announced plans last year to relax restrictions on business combinations between savings banks based in different geographic areas, and to remove a condition that the same majority shareholder can own no more than three savings banks.

If the deal is struck, it will be the first time the shareholders of OSB Savings Bank have changed for more than 10 years. (Reporting by Ar-rum Rho)

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