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17 added to antitrust watchlist during May-July period

All News 10:55 August 05, 2020

SEOUL, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- The number of companies affiliated with major conglomerates under tight restrictions increased in the May-July period, data showed Wednesday, as they expanded investment in areas that can take advantage of the virus pandemic.

The total number of affiliates under such restrictions reached 2,301 as of the end of July, up 17 firms from three months earlier, according to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC).

Major business groups newly launched or acquired 56 new affiliates, while offloading 39 others.

Under South Korean fair trade law, affiliates of large conglomerates with assets exceeding 10 trillion won (US$8.3 billion) are restricted from making equity investments in their affiliated companies or offering loan guarantees to each other.

This graphic shows logs of major companies in S. Korea. (Yonhap)

The conglomerates are also required to make public filings on their non-listed affiliates and are barred from engaging in excessive trading among affiliates.

SM Group, a construction and shipping conglomerate, added six new affiliates, while Kakao Corp., the operator of South Korea's most popular mobile messenger application, put five new affiliates under its wing.

The FTC said the net increase in the number of new affiliates came as the groups expanded investment in their digital content and online service-related businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kakao Enterprise Co., an artificial intelligence arm of Kakao, acquired RemoteMonster Inc., which develops real-time communication technologies. Kakao M Corp., an entertainment arm, also acquired three new content creators.

Naver Corp., the leading online portal operator, established a new online insurance firm. Netmarble Corp., a major game developer, purchased an animation producer as well.


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