RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Korea

South Korea tries to sell Woori again

Bidders interested in acquiring a majority stake in government-owned Woori Finance Holdings have until July 27 to do so.

The government this week issued the sale notice, its third attempt to privatize Woori, South Korea’s largest bank.

South Korea is putting its US$5.3 billion majority stake, equivalent to 57% ownership, in Woori for sale.

The Financial Services Commission (FSC) will accept initial bids by July 27. It will choose a preferred bidder after accepting final bids later this year.

Potential buyers must bid for at least 30% of Woori. The government's stake is held by the Public Fund Oversight Committee that oversees companies bailed out by the state.

The government this time said a merger is also a strategic option since overall conditions to sell Woori are improving. FSC said it was hopeful of success at its third attempt.

The government injected US$11.2 billion of public money into Woori following the 1997-98 East Asian financial crisis.

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