The South Korean conglomerate Dongwon Group, the owner of the American tuna company StarKist, is reportedly taking steps to acquire the South Korean transport company HMM and finance this acquisition. To secure the necessary capital, they are considering conducting initial public offerings (IPOs) for StarKist and two other companies.
According to information from the South Korean publication Pulse News, Dongwon Group's plan involves several phases. The first phase would include evaluating the value of these companies and then taking pre-IPO measures, such as attracting investments before going public and selling the stakes of family owners in various companies.
Additionally, as explained in the report, apart from StarKist, they are contemplating IPOs for Dongwon LOEX, a logistics company, and Dongwon Home Food, both of which belong to Dongwon Industries. However, the IPO process typically takes several years.
In addition to IPOs, Dongwon is considering other financial strategies. Among these strategies mentioned by Pulse are the sale of capital assets, taking advantage of their low indebtedness, and seeking loans from the financial sector to secure the funds required for HMM's acquisition. This strategic move is part of an ongoing competition to acquire HMM, involving multiple competitors, and is estimated to conclude by the end of 2023.
As explained in Pulse, all these subsidiaries became part of Dongwon Industries through merger and acquisition agreements in the past. Specifically, StarKist is one of the leading canned tuna companies in the United States, along with Bumble Bee Foods and Chicken of the Sea.
In 2008, StarKist joined Dongwon Group through a deal valued at USD 380 million (EUR). Nevertheless, StarKist has faced legal conflicts, notably antitrust cases linked to price-fixing within the canned tuna industry, resulting in substantial fines in 2019.
Established in 1969, Dongwon Group diversified into various sectors, including a strong presence in the canned tuna market in Korea. Leveraging StarKist's U.S. distribution, Dongwon excels in seafood and operates in logistics, telecommunications, and construction. StarKist Co., a Dongwon subsidiary, focuses on providing healthy, shelf-stable seafood products in the U.S., known for items like Tuna Creations and Salmon Creations. StarKist, with its iconic figure Charlie the Tuna, has been celebrated for quality, trust, and sustainability since 60's.