SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s antitrust regulator said Thursday that the value of corporate mergers and acquisitions declined 53.1 percent on-year last year due largely to a lack of mega deals.

Corporate deals were valued at 210.2 trillion won (US$190 billion) last year, compared with 448.4 trillion won a year earlier, according to the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC).

But the total number of corporate mergers and takeovers rose 12.9 percent on-year to 865 last year, it added.

Under the country’s fair trade law, merger deals sought by companies whose total assets or sales top 300 billion won are subject to the regulator’s review, when they seek to buy firms whose assets or sales exceed 30 billion won.

Mergers or takeovers pursued by domestic firms rose 22.4 percent on-year to 732 last year, but those by foreign companies declined 20.8 percent on-year to 133, the KFTC said.

Corporate mergers in the service sector increased 98 on-year to 605 last year, led by the telecommunication, broadcasting and retail segments. In the manufacturing industry, corporate deals reached 260 last year, almost unchanged from 259 a year earlier, the agency said.

This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, shows the exterior of the Korea Fair Trade Commission in the central administrative city of Sejong. (Yonhap)