Two next-gen sisters within the Samsung Group have reorganised their respective branches of their family conglomerate, selling the apparel business of Cheil Industries to another subsidiary within the group.
The apparel business – headed by Lee Seo-hyun, second daughter of Samsung Group chair Lee Kun-hee – will be transferred to Samsung Everland, led by her elder sister, Lee Boo-jin, in a KRW1.5 trillion deal (€1 billion). The deal is due to be completed by December.
The neglected fashion division had been part of Samsung Group’s high-tech materials subsidiary but Samsung Everland represents the conglomerate’s leisure arm, which runs a number of resorts and theme parks, but also has interests in construction, energy, landscaping and food.
The family hopes Everland’s interests in leisure will help its newly acquired fashion arm to develop sports and outdoor clothing lines.
Samsung, one of South Korea’s largest chaebol, is probably most famous for its electronics division, but a large part of its revenue figure is driven by its life insurance, heavy industry, leisure and resorts subsidiaries.
Thirty-nine-year old Seo-hyun – worth $1 billion, according to Forbes – is a graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York.
Her sister, Boo-jin, 42, became the first president of a Samsung company when she was appointed to the helm of Everland in 2010 and is sometimes referred to as "the little Lee Kun-Hee”.
Cheil Industries has had several incarnations – starting out in 1954 as a textiles company before moving into fashion. Since the 1980s the company has expanded into chemicals and the development and manufacturer of high tech materials. Its fashion activities became less and less important, and last year only accounted for 30% of revenue.
Everland saw revenues of KRW2 trillion in 2012, while Cheil reported revenues of KRW60 billion. In total, Sumsung generated turnover of SKW201.1 trillion.
The Lee family is one of the richest in Asia, and is worth a reported $12.6 billion (€9.3 billion).