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E-commerce

Yanolja likely to buy $250 mn stake in Interpark spin-off

Interpark is hiving off ticket sales and non-biopharm businesses into a new entity for the stake sale

By Oct 14, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Yanolja likely to buy 0 mn stake in Interpark spin-off

South Korea's top travel and accommodation platform Yanolja Inc., backed by SoftBank, was on Thursday named as the preferred buyer of a majority stake in Interpark Inc.'s new unit, according to the e-commerce platform. The stake is valued at 290 billion won ($245 million).

Yanolja had dropped out of the preliminary bidding round, but returned with a binding bid. It competed with China’s leading online travel agency Trip.com and CVC-owned GC Company, a South Korean booking platform better known as its Korean name of Yeogi Eotta.

For the stake sale, Interpark will be hiving off the divisions related to travel services, book orders and ticket sales for concerts and performances into a separate entity and sell a 70% stake in the new spin-off. Interpark will hold the remaining 30% stake.

It boasted as high as a 70% market share of domestic ticket sales for performances.

But the divisions to be split off do not include Interpark's profitable biopharmaceutical business, nor its lucrative subsidiaries including iMarket Korea.

Interpark had planned to sell a combined 28.4% stake in the company held by its largest shareholder Lee Ki-hyung and affiliated shareholders.

Founded in 1997, it is among the first-generation e-commerce platforms in South Korea. But its market share has shrunk to 2.4% and the company turned to an operating loss of 11.1 billion won in 2020, hit by dwindling overseas travel in the prolonged pandemic situation.

Preferred buyer Yanolja has been bulking up its operations through acquisitions, after attracting $2 billion from SoftBank's Vision Fund earlier this year.

Write to Jun-ho Cha at chacha@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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