Competition will likely intensify for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisory firms in South Korea this year as many large deals are waiting to be closed.
SK Hynix’s $9 billion acquisition of Intel’s memory business, announced in October last year, is one of the most closely watched deals. The chipmaker aims to get regulatory approvals for the transaction this year, which would trigger a $7 billion payment. The remaining $2 billion would follow at final closing, expected in 2025.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Bae, Kim & Lee are serving as financial and legal advisers to Intel, while Deloitte Anjin is providing accounting advice. Citigroup Global Markets and EY Hanyoung are serving as financial and accounting advisers to SK Hynix and Kim & Chang is serving as its legal counsel.
Citigroup Global Markets came fifth in South Korea’s M&A financial advisor ranking in 2020 for closed deals, compiled by thebell, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch was not included in the top five. But they ranked first and second respectively on the basis of announced deals thanks to the Intel acquisition.
Delivery Hero’s $4 billion takeover of Woowa Brothers is another big deal attracting attention. Recent conditional approval from antitrust regulators has cleared the way for the German company to acquire South Korea’s top delivery app owner, and the transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of the year.
JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are serving as financial advisers to Woowa, while Yulchon is serving as its legal counsel. Samil PwC is acting as accounting adviser to both Delivery Hero and Woowa. Closing the deal would help the company boost its ranking in the league tables in 2021.
Delivery Hero also must sell its entire stake in Yogiyo, its South Korean subsidiary, according to the decision by antitrust regulators. The sale, expected to happen in the second half of the year, will be a lucrative deal for advisory firms because the company is estimated to be worth about 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion).
Korean Air Line’s 2 trillion won merger of Asiana Airlines, the largest deal ever in the country’s aviation industry, is expected to be completed in the first half of this year. Kim & Chang and Yoon & Yang are acting as legal advisers to Korean Air Line, while Samjong KPMG provides accounting advice. Shin & Kim and Lee & Ko are serving as legal counsels to Asiana Airlines.
Hyundai Motor Group’s 1 trillion won acquisition of U.S. robotics company Boston Dynamics is also a notable deal expected to be closed this year. Goldman Sachs is serving as financial adviser.
LG Chem is expected to close the 1.3 trillion sale of part of its liquid crystal display polarizer business to China’s Shanshan in the first half of the year. EY Hanyoung and Bae, Kim & Lee are assisting LG Chem on the deal.
Samsung also announced last year that it had agreed to sell its liquid crystal display panel plant in Suzhou, China, to China Star Optoelectronics Technology for 1.28 trillion won. Morgan Stanley, Samil PwC and Kim & Chang are advising on the deal. (Reporting by Seon-young Kim)