Inheriting Late LG Chief's Shares May Cost $830 Million in Taxes

  • Koo Bon-moo’s shareholding valued at more than $1.4 billion
  • Korea has one of the world’s highest inheritance tax rates

Inheriting shares of LG Group’s holding company held by Koo Bon-moo, the late chairman of South Korea’s fourth-largest conglomerate, could result in taxes exceeding 900 billion won ($830 million).

Koo held 19.5 million shares, or 11.3 percent, of LG Corp. when the 73-year-old tycoon died on Sunday after leading the conglomerate for 23 years. While LG hasn’t disclosed what will happen to those shares, which have a market value of more than 1.5 trillion won, the group has signaled that Koo’s 40-year-old adopted son will succeed him.

Koreans are subject to some of the highest inheritance taxes in the world, including a 50 percent in duties on assets valued at more than 3 billion won. With stocks, there is an extra 20 percent tax when inheriting shares owned by the largest stakeholder, which the late Koo was.

Koo Bon-moo

Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

“It would be hard for Koo to inherit all of his father’s shares in LG Corp. due to the huge amount of taxes,” said Chung Sun-sup, chief executive officer at corporate research firm “Still, he will probably become the largest shareholder of the holding company.”

LG Patriarch Who Built Business Empire Over 23 Years Dies

Heir-apparent Koo Kwang-mo, who was nominated to LG Corp.’s board last week as part of succession plans, currently holds 6.2 percent in the company. The late Koo’s widow owns 4.2 percent and her two daughters hold 1.1 percent in LG Corp.

Combined, the founding family and related parties own 46.7 percent of LG Corp.

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