* SK Tel buys control of the world's No.2 memory chipmaker
for $3 bln
* Deal ends creditors' years of struggle to find a new owner
* S&P places SK credit ratings on negative outlook
* Hynix shares close up 3.5 pct, SK Tel down 0.3 pct
(Recasts with official announcements)
By Ju-min Park
SEOUL, Nov 14 South Korea's SK Telecom
has agreed to buy a 21 percent of Hynix
Semiconductor for $3 billion in its biggest ever
acquisition that will help the creditors-turned-shareholders
find a new owner for the chipmaker after years of failure.
The 3.4 trillion won ($3.0 billion) deal comprises of SK
Telecom paying 2.3 trillion won to Hynix and the remaining 1.1
trillion won to nine shareholders of the world's No.2 computer
"With the fresh fund, Hynix will be able to improve its
financial stability and continue to invest to raise its
competitiveness... SK Telecom's focus will remain on enhancing
Hynix's corporate value," the country's top mobile carrier said
in a statement.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, however,
on Monday placed SK Telecom on a negative outlook, saying the
takeover could hurt the firm's credit quality.
"Although Hynix maintains a strong position in the global
memory semiconductor industry, its volatile operating
performance and large capital expenditure requirements could
undermine SK Telecom's stable cash flows." S&P said.
SK didn't elaborate how it will fund the acquisition.
SK Telecom had offered to buy new shares issued by Hynix at
23,000 won each, or a 7 percent premium to the Nov. 10 closing
price, and purchase existing shares from nine shareholders for
24,500 won each, a 14 percent premium.
Creditors saved Hynix from a debt crisis in 2001 and have
scaled down their stake in Hynix but failed several times to
complete a full sale.
Nine Hynix creditors-turned-shareholders, including Korea
Exchange Bank, state-run Korea Finance Corp, Shinhan
Bank and Woori Bank have sought to
recoup billions of dollars they injected into the debt-ridden
chipmaker several years ago following the Asian financial
Attempts to give management control to a domestic company
for fear of a potential leak of advanced technologies has cooled
interest in Hynix at a time when investors are avoiding the
capital intensive and cyclical memory chip sector.
Shares in Hynix ended 3.5 percent higher while SK Telecom
fell 0.3 percent, versus the wider market's 2.1 percent
SK aims to close the deal by the first quarter of 2012.
($1 = 1126.600 Korea Won)
(Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Jonathan
Hopfner and Miyoung Kim)