South Korea's KB Financial Group expects to complete a $2 billion rights offer by early September, CEO Hwang Young-key told Reuters on Wednesday, giving it the muscle to possibly buy Korea Exchange Bank or non-banking financial services companies.
Hwang said KB Financial, the parent of top South Korean bank Kookmin, remained open to bidding for the assets of KEB, the country's sixth-largest lender, which is majority owned by U.S. private equity house Lone Star.
Lone Star's 51 percent stake in KEB is currently worth around $2.6 billion. Previous attempts to sell KEB to Kookmin and HSBC in 2006 and 2007, respectively, fell through due to legal disputes.
Hwang, speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of a business conference in Hong Kong, said Lone Star had not made any contact so far regarding the sale of KEB assets.
We continue to be interested in the Korea Exchange assets, but we will not be in a hurry, he said. We would like to see what Lone Star wants to do.
If they open it up to a bidding, we go into bidding. If they want exclusive negotiations with only a couple of players, we will also be interested, he said.
Hwang said a KB Financial board meeting was scheduled for early July to discuss the proposed rights offer.
Hopefully ... it will be over by late August or early September. If the board members agree with the rights offering, we will go ahead with it, Hwang said.
(Reporting by Leonora Walet and Rafael Nam; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)