Hanmi heirs likely to join forces with PEFs for stake control

2024.04.03 09:34:01 | 2024.04.03 09:42:52

Lim Jong-yoon and Lim Jong-hoon. [Photo by MK DB]이미지 확대

Lim Jong-yoon and Lim Jong-hoon. [Photo by MK DB]

Lim Jong-yoon, the eldest son of Lim Sung-ki, the late founder of South Korea’s Hanmi Pharmaceutical Group, and his younger brother Lim Jong-hoon, have reportedly contacted global private equity funds (PEFs) including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (KKR) to secure a majority stake in Hanmi Science Co., the holding company of the group.

The Lim brothers, who have been opposing the planned merger between Hanmi Pharmaceutical Group and OCI Group., appear to be aiming to end the management dispute by securing a majority stake in Hanmi Science after their victory in a recent vote showdown during the company’s shareholder meeting last week.

According to investment banking (IB) sources on Tuesday, the Lim brothers had been in contact with global PEFs and IBs to secure more than 51 percent of Hanmi Science‘s shares since before the shareholder meeting.

“The duo has been making proposals to a number of large global PEFs such as Bain Capital since the management dispute came to the fore,” said an insider. “Currently, cooperation with KKR seems the most likely option.”

It is known that PEFs are likely to purchase the additional shares needed to secure more than 51 percent of the shares but the discussions are underway to guarantee the management rights of the Lim brothers.

In particular, PEFs are said to be in contact with Song Young-sook, the duo’s mother and chairwoman of Hanmi Pharmaceutical Group, and their sister Lim Joo-hyun, vice chairwoman, with whom they have been at odds over the group’s control, to explore the possibility of their selling some shares.

However, if negotiations with Song and her daughter fail, there is also speculation that the Lim brothers and PEFs would launch a public tender offer to secure the remaining stake in Hanmi Science from ordinary investors.

”We are trying to reach an amicable compromise with Chairwoman Song’s side as she emphasized family harmony immediately after the shareholder meeting,“ said an official close to the Lim brothers.

However, there are concerns in the industry that PEFs may become the largest single shareholder in Hanmi Science during the process of securing a majority stake, leading to suggestions that the management rights are being sold to KKR.

By Oh Dae-seok, Kang Min-ho, and Yoon Yeon-hae

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