Samsung Electronics Shares Worth $1.1 Billion Sold in Block Deal

Samsung Electronics shares worth about $1.1 billion (roughly Rs. 8,400 crore) were sold in a block deal on Thursday, according to a document, which some analysts attributed to the Samsung conglomerate’s controlling family raising cash to meet a big tax bill.

About 19.9 million Samsung shares were sold by Kookmin Bank at KRW 68,800 (roughly Rs. 4,300) per share, a discount of 2.4 percent to Wednesday’s closing price of KRW 70,500 (roughly Rs. 4,400), a term sheet of the deal seen by Reuters showed.

Samsung Electronics did not have a comment on the sale.

But the shares on sale matched the amount that Hong Ra-hee, mother of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee and wife of deceased Samsung patriarch Lee Kun-hee, agreed to keep in trust with Kookmin Bank in October, according to a Samsung Electronics filing that month.

The trust agreement period was due to end by April 25, the filing showed.

Since patriarch Lee died in 2020, Samsung’s controlling family decided to use shares in affiliated companies to pay part of more than $10 billion (roughly Rs. 76,320 crore) in inheritance tax, people with direct knowledge of the matter previously told Reuters.

The tax code allows payment in instalments, with one-sixth of the total to be paid first, and the remainder over five years with an annual interest rate. Even in instalments, analysts expect over KRW 2 trillion (roughly Rs. 12,485 crore) to be due annually.

“The owner family is likely to sell additional shares to secure funds for inheritance tax,” said Choi Kwan-soon, an analyst at SK Securities. Samsung Electronics’ share price was down 1 percent at KRW 69,900 (roughly Rs. 4,370) in early afternoon trade, versus a 0.5 percent fall in the wider market.

Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Kookmin were bookrunners for the sale.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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