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RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, Korea

Hana eager to quickly close Lone Star deal

The U.S. fund may drop out of the contract if regulators fail to approve deal by the end of February.

Hana Financial Group chairman Kim Seung-yu raised the possibility on Wednesday that the group’s preliminary deal with Lone Star Funds to trade shares of Korea Exchange Bank could fall apart.

If financial regulators do not finalize their stance on whether to approve or reject the Hana-Lone Star deal by the end of February, there is a high possibility that the U.S. fund will drop out of the contract, Kim told reporters.

Under the scenario, Lone Star may file a suit against financial regulators, he said.

His remarks could be interpreted as pressure on financial regulators to approve the deal as soon as possible, according to analysts.

The Financial Services Commission and the Financial Supervisory Service are probing the shareholder eligibility of Lone Star, as a prior step to endorse or reject the M&A application.

A group of lawmakers and civic groups say the Hana-Lone Star deal was originally invalid, arguing that “the equity fund has been a non-financial investor, which is barred from owning a Korean bank.”

View the full story in Korea Herald.

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