Succession at Samsung – South Korea’s largest family-owned conglomerate – could prove costly for the third generation, with analyst estimates putting the potential inheritance tax bill at almost €5 billion.
Analysts have been speculating about the future of the company following the hospitalisation of second-generation chairman Lee Kun-hee last month after a heart attack.
Samsung, most famous for its consumer electronics business, 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).
With South Korea’s inheritance tax sitting at 50%, Lee’s three children could face one of the largest inheritance tax bills ever.
Lee’s only son, 45-year-old Jay Y Lee, is the presumed heir apparent as chairman of the entire group, although Samsung has not confirmed any succession plan. Jay’s younger sisters, Boo-jin and Seo-hyun, are expected to control the conglomerate’s hotel and fashion subsidiaries.
According to Reuters, the South Korean government collected 1.7 trillion won (€1 billion) of inheritance tax in 2012.