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Country Monitor

         Fall 1999

1. Country Monitor:

Korea M&A

2. Legal Best
Practices Monitor:

Legal Options

3. International
Counsel News:

Recent Deals &
Other News

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    Seoul, Korea

M&A in Korea: Liberalization of Foreign Direct Investment

The country focus of this issue of the Monitor is Korea, a country that has made significant progress in opening its economy to foreign investment and trade, culminating in the rapid changes of the last 18 months. It is generally acknowledged that Korea is making the strongest recovery among the Asian nations caught by the Asian financial crisis.

INTERNATIONALCOUNSEL's David Laverty has recently returned from one of his periodic trips to Korea. He files this report, a summary of a piece published in the June 1999 issue of Asian Legal Briefing, a Hong Kong publication on legal developments throughout the region. We are the current contributor for Asian Legal Briefing's Korea Country File, a monthly update of legal and regulatory changes of interest to foreign investors in Korea.

Foreign direct investment in Korea has continued at a brisk pace, despite reports of a relaxation of efforts among some chaebol and other Korean companies to sell all or part of their operations in the face of an improving Korean economy.

Increase of Foreign Investment in Korea

  • Foreign investment in Korea reached a yearly record of nearly US$8.9 billion in 1998, with mergers and acquisitions by foreign companies amounting to perhaps over 50% of this total.

  • Examples of buy-outs include Motorola's acquisition in October, 1998, of 51 % of telecommunications component maker Appeal Telecom, and Volvo's acquisition in May 1998, of 100% of Samsung Heavy Industry's construction equipment division.

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