Three potential buyers, including local private equity (PE) firms STLeaders PE, White Whale Group and a Japanese financial firm, submitted their final offers for Hyosung Capital on August 28.

All of the bidders are the ones included in the shortlist. A consortium led by BankerStreet PE didn’t reportedly submit its final offer. Seller Hyosung Corporation plans to select and notify the preferred bidder as early as next week.

Japanese financial services group ORIX and a Japanese bank mulled over their possible participation in the final round of bidding. A Japanese bank, which had been extra careful to safeguard information relating to the deal, had reportedly tried to acquire Hyosung Capital through its leasing subsidiary.

Among local PE firms, WWG has reportedly offered a higher acquisition price than STLeaders PE. WWG has raised capital from local brokerage firms while STLeaders PE has secured letters of intent from domestic major limited partners including Korean Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives.

A consortium led by BankerStreet PE chose not to participate in the final round of bidding. The consortium has considered an option to partner with Keystone PE or a foreign strategic investor but cancelled its plan as a result of the strategic investor pulling out from the deal, industry watchers said.

Hyosung Corporation plans to pick its preferred bidder as early as next week, while it may take more time than initially expected to compare potential buyers’ bid prices.

Local prospective buyers have to create a project fund to acquire Hyosung Capital. The seller is expected start weighing up local firms’ bid prices and deal certainty with those of a Japanese strategic investor, considering local firms’ deal certainty is lower than its Japanese rival.

“It will be quite difficult for Hyosung Corporation to find a potential buyer who wants to buy Hyosung Capital at a valuation of more than 1.2 times its net assets and have deal certainty at the same time,” said an industry source. “If Hyosung Corporation considers deal certainty as the most important factor, a foreign potential buyer may have an edge.” (Reporting by Ik-hwan Choi, Ar-rum Rho)