Lone Star may sue South Korea government on KEB deal

Reuters – U.S. private equity house Lone Star is seriously considering suing the South Korean government if it delays approval beyond September of the firm’s $6.3 billion sale of shares in a local bank, a newspaper reported on Friday.

English language daily The Korea Times said Lone Star was mulling a suit claiming losses from the government for delaying the sale of shares in Korea Exchange Bank.

Lone Star’s PR agency in Seoul declined to comment and a lawyer representing Lone Star was not available for immediate comment.

Last September, Lone Star LS.UL agreed to sell its 51 percent stake in KEB the country’s No. 6 lender, to UK-based HSBC for $6.3 billion.

But HSBC’s offer lapsed on July 31, with the government delaying approval of the KEB sale, citing legal uncertainties relating to Lone Star’s South Korean activities. The deal is still awaiting regulatory approval.

"Beleaguered with growing complaints from investors, Lone Star is considering returning its KEB shares in-kind to investors as one possible option, together with a block sale option," the Korea Times cited an unnamed source close to the deal as saying.

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