Corporate and M&A: local firms in South Korea

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC covers a broad spectrum of commercial transactions, regularly advising on joint ventures and strategic collaborations, supply agreements, licenses and distributorships. It also assists clients with general corporate compliance, including company registrations, foreign exchange controls and regulatory reports. Korean and foreign multinational companies regularly instruct the team, as do international private equity funds. Practice head Sky Yang is a well-known figure in cross-border M&A, specialising in transactions involving financial institutions and global corporations, with particular expertise in regulatory issues. Dong Woo Seo is a key name to note for matters involving hostile takeovers and corporate group restructurings. Joonki Yi and Ri Bong Han both specialise in advising clients on energy-related deals. Byoung-Ki LeeMok H. Kim and Minwoon Yang are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Sky Yang

Testimonials

Provide a great level of legal service with dedicated commitment.

The M&A lawyers have very good experience and knowledge, and are also very dedicated.

Key clients

Affinity Equity Partners

Carlyle Group

Comcast

Delivery Hero SE

Hyundai Motor

Korea Development Bank

LG Chem

Macquarie PE

POSCO

SK Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised Delivery Hero on its $4bn acquisition of Woowa Brothers.
  • Advised the Hyundai Development Company on its sale of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering to Hyundai Heavy Industries.
  • Advised LG Chem on the establishment of its EV battery cell joint venture with GM.

Kim & Chang

Kim & Chang's offering comprises both highly regarded M&A attorneys, and government and industry experts; this gives the practice an 'unparalleled understanding of key players, M&A trends, and regulations' in a wide range of sectors. Team head Kyung-Taek Jung has extensive experience of domestic and cross-border M&A, including corporate restructurings, private equity transactions and joint venture transactions. Jung works with many well-known names, including Jong-Koo ParkYoung Jay Ro and Young Man Huh. The latter's broad M&A expertise covers a wide range of matters, including cross-border and domestic acquisitions of corporates, financial institutions and public companies, as well as investments by global and domestic private equity funds, and takeover defence. Jong Hyun Park is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Kyung-Taek Jung

Testimonials

The team has an unparalleled understanding of key players, M&A trends, and regulations.

Yun Goo Kwon is able to offer robust and thorough legal advice, but is also able to see the larger commercial picture, which makes him a unique partner in this space.’

Key clients

Hyundai Motor Company Group

Woonjin Thinkbig Co., Ltd, Woongjin Coway Co.,Ltd.

MBK Partners

Lotte Corporation

Estee Lauder Cosmetics Limited

Hanon System

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P.

The Blackstone Group (HK) Limited, Anchor Equity Partners and GIC.

CJ ENM CO., Ltd

IMM Private Equity, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Motors Corporation, and Hyundai Mobis on the $4bn joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv Technologies.
  • Advised Hyundai Heavy Industries on its takeover bid to acquire a 55.7% stake in Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.
  • Assisted Woongjin Thinkbig with its sale of 25.08% shares of Woongjin Coway to the Netmarble Corporation.

Lee & Ko

The corporate team at Lee & Ko is experienced in handling cross-border M&A transactions involving inbound and outbound investments, as well as complex international joint venture projects, for major corporates and prominent private equity houses. Sang Gon Kim handles a wide variety of transactions on behalf of clients from the financial and petrochemical industries. Hyeong Gun Lee acts for clients such as Ford, Hana Financial Group, Hanwha Group and the Korea Development Bank. Kim and Lee co-head the practice with deal structuring expert Hyun Tae Kim. Other notable individuals include Ho Joon MoonKyungchun KimDaehoon Koo and Sung Min Kim. The firm also fields a number of M&A disputes specialists, including Yong Joon Yoon.

Testimonials

Lee & Ko has fruitful experience and expertise in the field of M&A.

In terms of expertise, work quality, commitment and value for money, Lee & Ko outshines other firms.

Lee & Ko has successfully represented numerous landmark cases.’

Key clients

Samsung Group

LG Group

SK Group

Saudi Aramco

Carlyle Group

MBK Partners

IMM Private Equity

Lotte Group

CJ Group

Korea Development Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised SKC, a chemical production unit of the conglomerate SK Group, on its acquisition of 100% of the shares of KCF Technologies.
  • Assisted the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Aramco Overseas Company, with its acquisition of a 17% interest in Hyundai Oilbank for approximately $1.2bn.
  • Advised Sae-A Trading on its acquisition of 60.53% of Taelim Package and 100% of both Taelim Paper and Taelim Packaging from Trinity One and Trinity Two, owned by PEF IMM PE.

Shin & Kim

Shin & Kim is a leading name in cross-border M&A, with it leveraging the expertise of practitioners across multiple departments and offices, including a newly-opened site in Indonesia. The firm acts for clients from a wide range of sectors, including banking, manufacturing, energy, biotechnology, retail, real estate and TMT. It advises on regulatory matters, business practices and other industry-specific issues. Chris Chang-Hyun Song has expertise in private equity transactions, shareholder activism, corporate governance and corporate disputes. Tong-Gun Lee frequently handles both friendly and hostile M&A transactions. Other key contacts at the firm include Myong-Hyon (Brandon) RyuJae Woo ImChaewon Kang and Jiwon KangJu-Hyun Yoo, Dae-Hyuk Choi, Soo Hwa Lee, Ho-Yeon Lee and Hyun Wook Kim made partner in March 2020.

Key clients

Kumho Industrial Co., Ltd. and Asiana Airlines, Inc.

MBK Partners

Sequoia Capital

CJ Group

Shinhan Financial Group

Woori Financial Group

SK Group

IMM Private Equity

SJL Partners

Mirae Asset Global Investments

Alberta Investment Management Corporation

Kakao Corporation

Lotte Group

The Linde Group

IMM Investment

Posco

Stonebridge Capital

Dongbu Group

Work highlights

  • Advised SJL Partners, KCC Corporation, and Wonik QnC Corporation on the $3.1bn acquisition of Momentive.
  • Assisted the seller and the issuer with the $2.3bn sale of Asiana Airlines to the Hyundai Development Company and Mirae Asset Daewoo.
  • Advised the Alberta Investment Management Corporation on its acquisition of Daesung Industrial Gases.

Yulchon

Yulchon's 'very strong corporate M&A practice' is valued for its ability to 'efficiently address complex commercial factors as well as legal or regulatory issues'. Complex corporate transactions, restructurings, foreign investments, regulatory matters and legislative support projects all fall within the team's broad remit. In a recent highlight, Chung-In Anthony ChoiGun Kim and Jin Kook Lee advised a group of financial investors on the sale of their collective 87.3% equity stake in Woowa Brothers to its German-based rival Delivery Hero. Key members of the group include Jae Hyun Park and Hyung Ki Lee, the latter of whom has handled a number of noteworthy cross-border transactions. Doil SonHee Woong YoonYoung Su Shin, and Sung Wook Eun are also recommended.

Testimonials

Yulchon’s best quality is its capability to efficiently address complex commercial factors as well as legal or regulatory issues.

Yulchon has a very strong corporate M&A practice, especially in the highly regulated insurance space.

Nina Kim provides an excellent service in highly complicated M&A transactions.

Key clients

Hillhouse Capital Management; Altos Ventures; GS PIA;

Prudential Financial, Inc

Unison Capital

CJ CGV

Net1 Applied Technologies Netherlands B.V.

LINE Plus and LINE Financial Asia

Geo Young Corporation

Silicon Mitus Inc.

DSME Co., Ltd.

Netmarble Games Corporation

Mirae Asset Daewoo. Co., Ltd. (“Mirae Asset”)

Industrial Bank of Korea

Hotel Lotte; Lotte Hotel Busan; Lotte Station Building

Medit Corp.

Contents Alliance Platform

Banker Street Co., Ltd.

PHC Co., Ltd.

TPG Capital Asia

Work highlights

  • Advised a group of financial investors, including Hillhouse Capital Management, Altos Ventures, and GS PIA, on the sale of their collective 87.3% equity stake in Woowa Brothers to its German-based rival Delivery Hero.
  • Assisted Prudential Financial with its $1.9bn sale of Prudential Life Insurance to Kore’s KB Financial Group.
  • Advised Unison Capital on its sale of Gong Cha Korea to TA Associates, a US private equity firm.

Jipyong

The team at Jipyong advises on a wide range of domestic and international M&A, including stock acquisitions, business and asset transfers, spin-offs and hostile takeovers. It is also well-equipped to handle all the legal issues which may arise during a transaction, such as those related to tax, labour, bankruptcy or industry-specific regulations. Practice head Cheol Jeong acts for a wide array of domestic and foreign corporations, focusing particularly on the energy, finance, real estate and food and beverage industries. Jeong is supported by notable practitioners Min ShinHye Jung Ryu and Tae Hyun Lee.

Practice head(s):

Cheol Jeong

Other key lawyers:

Min Shin; Hye Jung Ryu; Tae Hyun Lee

Key clients

SK Chemicals

Dongbu Steel Co., Ltd.

SK Investment Vina II Pte. Ltd.

Smilegate Megaport

WITHINNOVATION Corp.

SK South Asia Investment Pte. Ltd.

SK Gas Ltd.

SK innovation Co., Ltd.

NH Capital Co., Ltd.

SK Trading International Co., Ltd.

SK Energy Co., Ltd.

Kanglim Co., Ltd.

Young In Scientific

SK Holdings Co., Ltd.

STIC Pan-Asia 4th Industrial Revolution Growth PEF

Moorim SP Co., Ltd.

SK Lubricants Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advised SK Chemicals on the sale of its bioenergy business to Hahn & Company.
  • Assisted Dongbu Steel with its issuance of new shares to the KG Group and Cactus Private Equity.
  • Assisted SK Investment Vina II with its issuance of new shares to the Oogway2 Fund.

KL Partners

The burgeoning practice at KL Partners is particularly known for advising on private equity matters across the full life cycle of a fund; the work ranges from fund formation and fundraising to classic leveraged buyouts. It also acts on other types of transactions, such as investments into and subsequent exits from all types of industries. The team was further strengthened by the arrival of Audrey Lee from biotechnology company Olipass in April 2020. Lee, who is a US-qualified attorney, also brings vast experience of the finance sector to the team. Other key practitioners include Eun Nyung (Ian) LeeSeonho Kim and Jisun HwangSeong Hoon (Sean) Yi is the head of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Seong Hoon (Sean) Yi

Key clients

Kumho Buslines

Asiana Airlines

SK Telecom

Naver

Socar

Korea Kolmar Group

Cactus PE

Green Cross Holdings

Synaptic PE

KTB PE

Smilegate Holdings Co., Ltd.

Big Hit Entertainment Co., Ltd.

AAC Technologies Pte. Ltd.

City Storage Systems LLC.

Work highlights

  • Advised Kumho Industrial on the sale of approximately 33% of Asiana Airlines’ shares to the Hyundai Development Company and Mirae Asset consortium.
  • Assisted Asiana Airlines with the issuance of new shares recognising their management rights to the Hyundai Development Company and Miraeiam Asset Consortium.
  • Advised Korea Kolmar on the sale of its pharmaceutical related CMO (Contract Manufacturing Organization) business to IMM PE.

Yoon & Yang LLC

The corporate advisory practice group at Yoon & Yang LLC is able to 'close complex transactions based on negotiation skills and a high level of industry knowledge'; this is particularly evident in the healthcare sector, which is a core area of focus for the team. The firm provides the full spectrum of legal services necessary for the completion of M&A deals, including transaction structuring, due diligence, drafting and negotiating agreements, and closing deals. With Sung-Jin Kim at the helm, the practice is actively expanding its capabilities in outbound transactional matters, and private equity-related work. Key names to note include Young Ho KangSangman Kim and Ka Young Kim.

Practice head(s):

Sung-Jin Kim

Testimonials

The team always provides the right answers to a variety of corporate problems in a short period of time.

The team is able to close complex transactions based on negotiation skills and a high level of industry knowledge.

Based on Sung-Jin Kim’s ample knowledge of diverse industries and abundant experience in both local and inbound/outbound deals, he can give precise and somewhat creative answers to diverse legal issues arising during M&A transactions.

Key clients

Hyundai Motor Group

Hanjin Group

CJ Group

SKS Private Equity

Miraeasset venture Private Equity

CHA Medical Group

Shinhan Financial Group

Hankook Tire & Technology Co., Ltd

GS Retail

Uni-President Enterprises Corp.

LG Household & Healthcare Ltd.

UTC Investment

Work highlights

  • Advised Posco Plantec, a financially troubled POSCO affiliate company which was put on a workout programme, on its attraction of a new investment.
  • Advised Hyundai Motor Company and Gwangju Metropolitan City on their joint venture deal to establish an automobile manufacturing company, Gwangju Global Motors.
  • Assisted SKS Mirae Asset Contents with its acquisition of convertible bonds as a way of investing in Wavve, the largest over-the-top service in Korea.