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RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, Korea

Korea financial watchdog to approve Hana's KEB takeover

The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), is currently reviewing Lone Star's eligibility as KEB's major shareholder.

Korea's financial watchdog is likely to give the final green light next month to Hana Financial Group to buy Korea Exchange Bank (KEB), wrapping up the long-pending deal, sources said Sunday.

Financial regulators are nearing the conclusion that there are no problems with Hana Financial's purchase of country's fifth-largest lender from the U.S. buyout firm Lone Star Fund regardless of Lone Star's eligibility issue, they said.

Currently, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), the executive body of the nation's financial regulator Financial Services Commission (FSC), is reviewing Lone Star's eligibility as KEB's major shareholder.

"We have finished reviewing the classification of Lone Star as a possible industrial player and we plan to report to the FSC next week," an FSS official said.

The FSS has been reviewing whether the U.S. firm, which owns KEB, is eligible to own more than a 10 percent stake in the bank as a financial player according to local banking law.

The FSC is likely to conclude that it is difficult to designate Lone Star as an industrial capitalist, as legal assessments can vary, the sources said.

View the full story in Korea Times.

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