UPDATE 2-S.Korea's Kookmin hires Merrill, drops Goldman

viernes 19 de septiembre de 2008 08:47 CEST

(Adds private equity, other details)

By Michael Flaherty

HONG KONG, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Kookmin Bank 060000.KS has hired Merrill Lynch, replacing Goldman Sachs, as lead adviser to the South Korean lender's estimated $4 billion stake sale, a deal that has attracted interest from private equity funds, sources said.

Goldman (GS.N: Cotización) lost the advisory mandate a week after its research analyst issued a sell rating on Kookmin shares on Aug. 30, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday. Kookmin shares have fallen 13 percent from the date the note was issued through Thursday.

Kookmin, the country's top retail lender, plans to convert into a holding company structure on Sept. 29, a move that will prompt two auctions for stakes in the group. Afterwards, Kookmin will engage in a complex process of selling stakes over the next few years.

Kookmin, Goldman and Merrill declined to comment on the mandate. A Kookmin official confirmed the Aug. 30 research note, but declined to give any other details.

Kookmin Bank will have to sell a 5 percent stake within six months, according to a source familiar with the matter. Kookmin's holding group, the integrated company, will have a 12 percent stake up for grabs, the source said.

The holding company is expected to be publicly listed on Oct. 10, the source said.

Kookmin, with a market value of $16 billion, has to sell the shares it owns in itself within the next three years under domestic law.   Continuación...