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HDC agrees to face-to-face negotiations with Kumho over Asiana acquisition

HDC Hyundai Development Co. has agreed to face-to-face negotiations with Kumho Industrial to prevent the rupture of the deal to acquire Asiana Airlines, according to a statement released by HDC on Sunday.

In the statement, the construction company said it will try its best to accept the terms put forward by Kumho for the meeting between the CEOs of both companies, such as the location and time, to keep the acquisition process going as smoothly as possible.

HDC also reaffirmed its stance that the two should come to the table with the understanding that Kumho acknowledges “the need and justification for another round of due diligence” on the troubled airline.

The announcement comes just days after Kumho, the current largest shareholder of South Korea’s second-largest airline, Asiana, asked HDC on Friday to agree to face-to-face negotiations.

At that time, Kumho urged HDC Hyundai Development Co. to come to the negotiating table and “stop its press campaign,” if the company truly intended to finalize the process of acquiring Asiana Airlines.

Hopes are fading for the deal as the Tuesday deadline, set by Kumho and Asiana, approaches.

HDC and Kumho have been passing the blame for the stalled acquisition, as the two sides differ on whether an additional 12-week round of due diligence on the airline is justified.

Earlier this month, the Korea Development Bank, one of Asiana’s creditors, rejected HDC’s request for another review and said the blame is on the building company if the deal falls apart.

On Friday, Asiana posted an earnings surprise during the second quarter of the year owing to the strong performance of its cargo business, despite the overall fall in sales amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

By Yim Hyun-su (