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Samsung family plans listing of IT solutions subsidiary

By Jessica Tasman-Jones

The third generation of the Lee family, which controls South Korea’s Samsung, is reportedly restructuring family ownership in the conglomerate’s complicated web of subsidiaries.

The group’s IT solutions business, Samsung SDS, said on Thursday it was planning a listing on the Korea Exchange this year, explaining it will help it secure funds for its global expansion and patents in lucrative business areas such as cloud computing and big data.

Samsung SDS is partly owned by the three children of group chair Lee Kun-hee and, according to Reuters, the IPO could free funds for them to invest in other Samsung companies, such as construction unit Samsung C&T Corp.

The Lee family also only owns 5% of Samsung Electronics – probably the group’s most famous division. Second-gen Lee Kun-hee is the current chairman.

Samsung, one of South Korea’s largest conglomerates, was founded by Lee Byung-chul in 1938, and has made the Lee family one of the wealthiest in the world, with today’s family members worth a reported $12.6 billion (€9.3 billion).

South Korea’s family-owned conglomerates, known as chaebol, dominate the nation’s economy, with the largest 10, including Samsung, accounting for over half the value of the 2,000 companies listed on the country’s stock exchange.

Samsung SDS was founded in 1985. Less than six months ago it bought unlisted network provider Samsung SNS, which was 45.69% owned by Lee’s son, Jay, who is reported to have a 11% stake in Samsung SDS. Jay’s sisters, Boo-jin and Seo-hyun, are each said to have a 3.9% stake.

Samsung SDS shares have more than doubled in price to 197,500 won in the over-the-counter market since it acquired Samsung SNS last year.

Samsung SDS said it would decide on the size of the share offering once it has chosen lead advisers for the deal.