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MBK calls off Korean Homeplus property float

South Korean private equity firm MBK Partners has cancelled a planned Homeplus property float due to lack of interest.

The offering for a retail Reit established last year for 51 Homeplus supermarket chain stores was reported as being considered last May, and would have been the largest public Reit in the region. It had been anticipated to raise a potential KRW1.7 trillion (US$1.5 billion) – however as an outlier in a market with few Reit and a burgeoning online shopping industry, interest among investors was found wanting.

“We decided to withdraw the IPO on the conclusion that it would be difficult to get a fair value on the company,” said a spokesperson from Korea Retail Home Plus Reit. “We will revisit the IPO later on.”

Funds from the proposed Homeplus property float were potentially to be used to settle the firm’s outstanding debt.

Despite speculation of divestment in the wake of the cancellation, a source at MBK commented “Now Homeplus, a giant retailer with sales of 9 trillion won, is in the stages of improving competitiveness, we are not considering divestment at this point in time”.

An MBK-led consortium acquired the Homeplus chain from British retail firm Tesco in 2015 at a cost of $6 billion.

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