Private equity firm MBK Partners has teamed up with Woori Financial Group Inc., a major financial holding firm, in its bid to buy a majority stake in Lotte Card Co., an industry source said Monday.
The move is expected to make the sale of Lotte Card a two-way race with Hana Financial Group Inc., another major financial holding firm, according to the source.
Lotte Card, a credit-card unit of Lotte Group, has been put up for sale as the business conglomerate stepped up efforts to turn itself into a holding company structure.
Under South Korean law, an industrial holding company is banned from holding a majority stake in a financial unit to prevent owners of family-run business conglomerates from exploiting a financial unit as their private coffers.
Woori Financial has a credit-card unit, but the unit accounted for 8.5 percent of the market last year.
If the credit-card unit of Woori Financial eventually acquires Lotte Card, it would account for 19.7 percent of the market. (Yonhap)