Lone Stars sells off 13.6% stake in Korean Exchange Bank

22 June 2007

US private equity firm Lone Star has sold its 13.6 per cent stake in Korea Exchange Bank (KEB).

The Dallas-based fund sold 87.7 million shares to raise $1.28 billion, with the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NACF) and Hana Financial Group acquiring stakes of one per cent each.

Lone Star now holds a 51.02 per cent stake in the fifth-largest lender in Korea, but plans to sell off the remaining interest, with chairman John Grayken announcing that it is "actively looking for a strategic investor that can take KEB to the next level".

Korea's largest lender Kookmin, which was thwarted in its attempt to buy a controlling stake in the KEB last year, has announced that it remains interested in acquiring the shareholding.

The proposed sale was blocked after invention from local banking authorities, which allege that Lone Star bought shares in KEB at an artificially low price.

Meanwhile, Hana Financial Group is also thought to be looking to acquire the controlling stake.

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