Mirae Asset agrees to invest $334 mln in SK Telecom's fixed broadband subsidiary

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : April 29, 2019, 09:23 | Updated : April 29, 2019, 09:23

[SK Broadband]

SEOUL -- As a financial investor in the consolidation of South Korea's growing pay-TV market, Mirae Asset, a major financial and asset management group, agreed to acquire an 8.02 percent stake in a fixed broadband subsidiary of SK Telecom which has been locked in fierce competition with two domestic rivals to expand their presence.

Mirae said in a regulatory filing on Monday that it would invest 387.9 billion won ($334.5 million) in securing a stake in SK Broadband for participation in a merged entity. In its board meeting on April 26, SK Telecom (SKT), the country's top mobile carrier, approved the merger of SK Broadband and t-broad controlled by Taekwang Group.

SKT agreed to control 74.4 percent of the merged entity and Taekwang 16.8 percent. The merger would be completed on January 1 next year. If approved by financial regulators, the merged entity would have more than 7.6 million subscribers or 23.8 percent of South Korea's par-TV market.

LGU+, a third mobile carrier, has signed a deal to acquire a controlling stake in CJ Hello, a top cable channel operator. If approved, LGU+ would become the country's second-largest player in the pay-TV market with more than 7.8 million subscribers, or 24.4 percent, after South Korea's top telecom company, KT, which has 9.9 million subscribers.

In November last year, LGU+ forged an alliance with Netflix, allowing the OTT company to provide its service in South Korea using LGU+'s IPTV set-top box. OTT services deliver film or TV drama content over the internet. Video-on-demand (VOD) services are more popular in South Korea, where some 37 million smartphone users are hooked onto super-fast networks 24 hours a day.

Netflix has gained popularity since its service began in South Korea in 2016, with the number of paid active streaming subscribers standing at 1.53 million as of March. SKT is building an integrated OTT platform which would act as an advance guard for protecting the domestic OTT market.

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