Hyundai E&C Shareholders Expect Deal With Hyundai Motor on Sale Next Week

Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co.’s controlling shareholders may sign a preliminary deal next week to sell their stake to Hyundai Motor Group after a court supported their decision to end talks with a higher bidder.

The shareholders expect to decide by Jan. 7 whether to name Hyundai Motor Group as preferred bidder, and plan to sign a memorandum of understanding by Jan. 14, Kim Sun Gyu, a spokesman for Korea Exchange Bank, one of the investors, said today in Seoul. A final deal may be reached by mid-February, and the sale may be completed by early April, he said.

The shareholders plan to turn to the automaker after the Seoul Central District Court today rejected an attempt by the previous preferred bidder, Hyundai Group, to force a resumption of talks. Negotiations collapsed last month because of the shareholders’ concerns about how the group would pay for the 35 percent stake.

“Hyundai Motor Group hopes to begin talks as soon as possible,” it said in an e-mailed statement today. “We will try out best to grow Hyundai Engineering into a global leader in the construction industry.”

Hyundai Group plans to appeal the court ruling, it said by e-mail. That won’t stop the shareholders from beginning negotiations with Hyundai Motor Group, Kim said.

Hyundai Group bid about 5.5 trillion won ($4.9 billion) for the shares, beating an offer from Hyundai Motor Group by about 410 billion won, based on comments made by Judge Choi Sung Joon at a Dec. 24 hearing.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sookyung Seo in Seoul at sseo10@bloomberg.net; Kyunghee Park in Singapore at kpark3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net

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