이 기사는 2020년 05월 29일 08:00 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.
Interpark is weighing a sale of wholesale book distribution company Interpark Songin Books three years after its acquisition of the company.
Interpark is currently sounding out possible bidders including strategic investors and financial investors through a domestic accounting firm, according to investment banking industry sources on May 27. Interpark holds a 74 percent stake in Interpark Songin Books.
Established in 1959, Interpark Songin Books, formerly Songin Books, has been doing its business with approximately 2000 publishing companies. The company had grown to become the second largest wholesale book distributor in the country, though it went bankrupt in 2017 as it failed to pay promissory notes.
Interpark acquired the company undergoing a rehabilitation process in December 2017. Interpark acquired a 55 percent stake in Songin Books for five billion won and provided an additional five billion won with an expectation that it will create synergies with its existing online bookstore unit. This helped Songin Books normalize its business and continue its operation.
After the acquisition, Interpark has renamed Songin Books to Interpark Songin Books and put efforts into normalizing the business. Interpark Songin Books, however, has remained in the red. The company recorded an operating loss of 4.7 billion won and 2.1 billion won in 2017 and 2018, respectively. It posted an operating loss of 1.3 billion won last year.
Sales of Interpark Songin Books stood at 5.6 billion won in 2017, dropped to 2.5 billion won in 2018 and bounced back to four billion won last year, indicating that Interpark’s investment has not borne fruit yet.
In the same industry, Woonjin recently sold its 72 percent stake in Booxen, the country’s number one book distribution company with a 65 percent market share, to Centroid Investment Partners for 49.3 billion won. Interpark Songin Books has market share of approximately 20 percent.
It remains to be seen whether the sale of loss-making Interpark Songin Books will be completed. Peer companies who will be able to make synergies after acquiring the company may have interest in the company, but it is not clear whether they will join the race. If Interpark could sell the company, a slew of M&A deals including Booxen may shake up the domestic book distribution industry.
(Reporting by Hye-ran Kim)