Samsung Founders’ Family Sells Shares Worth 2.7 Trillion Won in Group Affiliates

SEOUL — In a significant financial move, three members of the founding family of Samsung Group have sold a substantial amount of their shares in various group affiliates. The total value of the shares sold amounts to 2.7 trillion won (approximately US$2 billion), which includes stakes in major companies such as Samsung Electronics Co. The sale appears to be a strategy to cover substantial inheritance tax liabilities.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Hong Ra-hee, the mother of Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong, along with her daughters, Lee Boo-jin, CEO of Hotel Shilla Co., and Lee Seo-hyun, who heads the Samsung Welfare Foundation, have divested a combined total of 29.8 million shares in Samsung Electronics. This sale, valued at 2.17 trillion won, was executed through a block deal at a price of 72,717 won per share last Thursday. Post-sale, their stakes in Samsung Electronics have reduced to 1.45 percent, 0.78 percent, and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Furthermore, other group affiliates, such as Samsung CandT Corp., Samsung SDS Co., and Samsung Life Insurance Co., also reported in regulatory filings that Lee Boo-jin sold portions of her stakes in these companies on the same day. These sales amounted to 0.65 percent, 1.95 percent, and 1.16 percent of her shares in each respective company.

This block sale is widely interpreted as a measure to pay off the hefty inheritance taxes, which total 12 trillion won. This tax liability follows the death of the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee in October 2020. Since his passing, the family members of the owner group have been settling their inheritance taxes in installments. This payment plan commenced in April 2021 and is set to continue over a five-year period.

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