Korean Business Law
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Korean Business Law

Edited by Hwa-Jin Kim

The approach of the book is two-fold. On the one hand the book offers valuable insight into the fundamental principles of Korean business law, and landmark cases in the field. On the other hand there is extensive analysis of more recent developments and of current issues raised by recent court cases. The book combines coverage of Korean corporate law and Korean financial law and includes detailed examination of corporate law issues such as director liability, minority shareholder protection, and the dynamic practice area of mergers and acquisitions, and of financial law topics, including private equity, structured finance and foreign financial institutions.
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Chapter 9: Private Equity in Korea: History, Industry and Policy

Hwa-Jin Kim and Alice Z. Chen


Hwa-Jin Kim and Alice Z. Chen INTRODUCTION I. When the Korean economy first opened its doors to the world in 1996 as a condition of its acceptance into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”),1 the country’s policies, regulations, and social and political mindsets were not ready for financial globalization. This plunged Korea into the Asian financial crisis, which resulted in a forced conciliation to the International Monetary Fund for loans and a hasty embrace of foreign capital without a proper understanding of the underlying risks or policies required. Korea initially welcomed investments from foreign private equity funds (“PEFs”). Such funds typically raise capital from institutions and individuals such as pension funds and university endowments. Buyout PEFs invest this capital in companies that are on the brink of bankruptcy, laden with distressed assets, or undervalued by the market. The buyout funds then restructure these companies using different business strategies to make improvements, and usually make an exit within two to four years by selling the improved company to a strategic buyer or taking their shares to the public market through an initial public offering.2 Initially viewed as white knights in the years immediately following the Asian financial crisis, public sentiment toward foreign PEFs gradually Hye-Sun Hwang, The Impact and Implication of Capital Globalization on Korea after 1997: From the Perspective of Foreign Private Equity Funds 12 (Feb. 2008) (unpublished M.A. thesis, Korea University Graduate School of International Studies) (on file with author). 2 Jiyeon Shin and Wonseok Woo,...

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