The Korea Herald


Eugene Group wins bid to acquire news channel YTN

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Oct. 23, 2023 - 18:19

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YTN headquarter in Sangam-dong, Seoul (Newsis) YTN headquarter in Sangam-dong, Seoul (Newsis)

Eugene Group, a mid-sized South Korean conglomerate with businesses ranging from distribution to finance, has become the largest shareholder of local news channel YTN, according to industry sources on Monday.

The group reportedly acquired a 30.95 percent stake in YTN for about 319.9 billion won ($236 million). The stake in question was previously owned by the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp.’s subsidiary Kepco KDN, an electric power grid service company, and the Korea Racing Authority.

The deal will be complete after the final bidder and its bidding price are approved by the Korea Communications Commission.

Eugene Group’s takeover of Kepco KDN and KRA’s stakes in YTN comes as the two state-run firms announced their decision to put their stakes up for sale last November. Along with Eugene Group, Korean textile maker Hansae and the Global Peace Foundation, founded by Moon Hyun-jin, the son of the founder of the Unification Church, participated in the auction process.

According to the Fair Trade Commission, Eugene Group is Korea’s 78th-largest conglomerate as of May this year. The group operates some 50 subsidiaries in diverse sectors including finance, architecture, information technology and entertainment.

In 1997, Eugene Group bought a 48 percent stake in a local cable broadcasting business named Dream City, with aims to expand its media business. However, the group sold the business to CJ Group in 2006 in a bid to acquire Daewoo Engineering and Construction. Following its failed attempt to do so, Jungheung Group acquired a controlling 50.75 percent stake in Daewoo E&C in 2021.

Jungheung Group is also the parent company of Herald Corp., publisher of The Korea Herald.