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Shinsegae’s SSG.com lines up banks for IPO next year Conglomerate’s ecommerce unit apparently rules out merger with eBay Korea

Translated by Ryu Ho-joung 공개 2021-10-29 07:55:29

이 기사는 2021년 10월 29일 07:30 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

SSG.com, the ecommerce unit of South Korean conglomerate Shinsegae Group, has lined up banks to lead its stock market floatation next year, a move suggesting that it decided to prepare for an initial public offering without a merger with eBay Korea.

Mirae Asset Securities and Citigroup Global Markets Securities will act as lead underwriters for the offering, while Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan will serve as co-managers, the company announced on Wednesday. Samsung Securities, which was named as one of the frontrunners in the race for a role on the deal, was not included in the final list.

The announcement came more than a month after nine shortlisted candidates pitched the company in mid-September to be advisers for its potential listing. The recent stock market turmoil probably led it to revisit its IPO strategy and deliberate for a long time, industry watchers said.

Much of the interest was focused on whether SSG.com will merge with eBay Korea before going public. This question was asked to investment banks during their presentations.

It is said that a majority of the nine banks recommended the company go public on its own without merging with eBay Korea, which was earlier this year acquired by Emart, Shinsegae’s supermarket chain and SSG.com’s parent company.

A potential merger with eBay Korea would make SSG.com the country’s top ecommerce platform larger than Coupang in transaction volume. But given that it takes a long time for post-merger integration, this option would force the company to delay the IPO for several years.

SSG.com raised 700 billion won in March 2019 from a consortium led by private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners. Under an agreement with its financial investors, SSG.com needs to go public by 2023.

The company announcing its IPO advisers may suggest that it ruled out a merger with eBay Korea. “While details will be discussed in a kick-off meeting, I think an option of merging (with eBay Korea) is off the table,” an official at one of SSG.com’s underwriters said. “This option cannot be chosen if the company targets to list next year.”

Another official at one of the company’s underwriters said, “We cannot say that a potential merger has been completely ruled out considering high market uncertainty.”

Some say SSG.com could reconsider merging with eBay Korea if the adverse market conditions continue. South Korea’s benchmark Kospi has been down in recent months, falling from 3,300 to 3,000. Higher inflation pressure and faster-than-expected rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve could further weaken investor sentiment next year.

It is said that all of the company’s underwriters put its value at more than 10 trillion won ($8.5 billion). They expect the listing to happen in the second half of 2022 provided that the company sticks with a plan to go public on its own. (Reporting by Kyung-ju Lee)
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