Regulator confirms HSBC's takeover bid for Korean bank

12 August 2008

HSBC has officially submitted its bid to take over the Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) to the Asian nation's financial regulator.

The London-based firm's new deal - which would see it build its stake in KEB to 51 per cent - has been confirmed by South Korea's Financial Services Commission (FSC).

Original plans for the takeover were first agreed between HSBC and Lone Star, the US private equity firm that currently holds the crucial stake, in September 2007.

However, regulatory pressure relating to legal disputes over Lone Star's initial takeover of 2003 has thus far stymied the deal.

In addition to this, HSBC has recently renegotiated to cut its original bid price, KEB's shares having fallen by nine per cent over recent months.

"As about eight months have passed since the first application, (HSBC) has submitted an updated document that includes financial data," the FSC said in a statement.

"We hope for the FSC's prompt decision and approval of HSBC's application to become our major shareholder," a KEB spokesman added.

HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, has yet to comment on the matter.

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