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HSBC rumoured to be closing in on Korean bank

HSBC rumoured to be closing in on Korean bank

(16 November 2004 – South Korea) HSBC is reportedly close to acquiring Korea First Bank for about US$3.2 billion. HSBC is negotiating to buy the 49 percent of the bank owned by US fund Newbridge Capital and the 48 percent currently owned by a South Korean government agency.

This would be the second time HSBC has bid for a major stake in the bank following a failed bid some six years ago and further talks with Newbridge in 2003.

Last year HSBC lost out to rival Citigroup for a stake in South Korea’s Koram Bank. Citigroup eventually paid US$2.7 billion for the stake. At the time HSBC said acquisitions in South Korea were over priced.

A recent report put out by the South Korean Ministry of Finance showed that foreign companies now own more than 60 percent of South Korea’s banking shares and almost half of the country’s financial services businesses.

Newbridge bought its stake in Korea First Bank from the government for 500 billion won in 1999.

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