Samsung Card, one of South Korea's leading credit card firms, said Wednesday it plans to sell part of its stake in Samsung Everland, the de facto holding company of Samsung Group.
Samsung Card sent requests for proposal (RFP) late last month to both local and foreign investment banks (IB) in a bid to pick bookrunners for selling a 20.64 percent stake in its unlisted affiliate Samsung Everland, the company said in an e-mailed statement.
The credit card issuer said it is mulling various measures to offloading the stakes, including a block deal and initial public offering (IPO), adding the sale period has not been decided yet.
Samsung Card is required to lower its stake in Samsung Everland to below 5 percent by April next year due to the nation's financial industry law that prevents financial firms from owning more than a 5 percent stake in non-financial companies.
The credit card company now holds a combined 25.64 percent interest in Samsung Everland, which operates amusement park and food services.
The 20.64 percent stake is estimated to be worth more than 1 trillion won (912 million U.S. dollars) based on the book value per share of around 2.1 million won, according to the company official. Market watchers estimated the sale price may rise up to 1.5 trillion won given the management premium of Samsung Everland.
Samsung Everland has been regarded as the actual holding company of the country's largest conglomerate Samsung Group. Lee Jae-yong, son of the Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee, owns around 25 percent stake of the amusement park operator, which controls Samsung Life Insurance. Samsung Electronics was controlled by Samsung Life Insurance.
Market watchers noted the stake sale would not destabilize the governance of Samsung Group by family owners, saying Samsung Everland is firmly controlled by family owners and affiliates, which own a total of more than 80 percent of stake in the amusement park operator.