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SK Telecom Plans $5 Billion Splurge to Become Korea’s SoftBank

  • Company is splitting investment arm off from carrier business
  • New firm will pursue semiconductor and mobile M&A deals
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SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s largest mobile carrier, wants to shed its staid image and take on a more dynamic role as an investor in tech startups à la SoftBank Group Corp.

Armed with a $5 billion budget for acquisitions over the next three years, the company is setting out to find the next Coupang Inc., the Korean e-commerce giant whose massive initial public offering fueled SoftBank’s record profit last quarter. About $2 billion of that will come from the proceeds of planned IPOs by five SK Telecom subsidiaries, some of them potentially listing American depositary shares in New York, according to SK Telecom’s senior executive.