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SK Telecom to buy Hynix stake for $3B

Posted: 16 Nov 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless operator? mobile carrier? computer memory? acquisition?

SK Telecom Co. has agreed to buy a controlling stake in Hynix Semiconductor Inc. for $3.05 billion. The deal that is expected to close by 1Q12 will allow the wireless operator to diversify into a new area.

The mobile carrier said it will buy 101.85 million new Hynix shares, a 14.7 percent stake at $20.37 each. SK Telecom also noted a purchase of 44.25 million existing shares, a 6.4 percent stake for a total of 21.1 percent. The deal is the biggest acquisition by SK Telecom, a key affiliate of the SK Group. The wireless operator said the convergence of the chipmaking and telecoms businesses would enhance efficiency and help expand its overseas interests.

The agreement will give SK Telecom an entry point into a $39-billion-a-year market for computer memory chips. It's the fourth attempt in two years by Hynix shareholders to unload the stake that they gained through a 2001 government-led bailout. The bid came as chip prices fell to a record low.

SK Telecom plans to conduct due diligence before adjusting final terms with the sellers in December, according to lead shareholder, Korea Exchange Bank. The company became the sole bidder in Hynix after STX Corp. dropped its bid in September, citing market uncertainties and the financial burden.

Standard & Poor's on Monday gave Hynix a B-plus long-term corporate credit rating on watch with positive implications. "At this stage, we expect the possible change in the rating on Hynix will be one notch if the acquisition proceeds as planned," S&P predicted.

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