Hyundai Deal in Question As AIG Hangs Tough on Share Price

August 24, 2001

One might begin to consider AIG’s deal to acquire three Hyundai financial units as as a perfect example of Yogi Berra’s famous line that “it’s never over ’til it’s over.” No sooner had the ink begun to dry on a memorandum of understanding, than a new controversy arose over the price to be paid for 4.47 million preferred shares in Hyundai Securities.

The AIG/WL Ross consortium had agreed to pay 7000 won (around $5.486) per share, but the company’s board of directors is demanding 8940 won ($ 7.00) per share. The demand puts AIG in the position, of either paying the higher price in order to acquire the 35 percent share it wants, or accepting a lesser percentage of around 30 percent.

According to reports by Reuters News Agency and the Financial Times, AIG has adamantly refused to accept the price increase, and “does not believe the transaction will be consummated unless this or other aspects of the transaction are promptly modified.”

The dispute affects political and financial decisions in Korea, which go beyond the parties involved, and this may make it harder to resolve, but both sides are still expressing optimism that a final deal can be concluded by the announced October deadline.

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