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Talks on HDC-Asiana deal likely to prolong

HDC Hyundai Development Co. which was poised to acquire Asiana Airlines said Tuesday it will hold talks with the majority shareholder Kumho Industrial to revive the stalled deal.

Negotiations between both sides may effectively go on after the Wednesday deadline.

A Kumho Industrial official confirmed that the deadline is no longer binding as the deal hinges on the planned talks between working-level staff at both companies.

Another official at HDC said that the “details have yet to be decided” and negotiation plans are still being discussed.

Earlier this month, Korea Development Bank Vice President Choi Dae-hyun said during a teleconference that the deal is left open for termination from Wednesday onward, though the decision depends on HDC. The state-run policy bank is one of the main creditors of the troubled airline,

The remarks stoked concerns that the deadlocked deal could soon follow the fate of the Jeju Air and Eastar Jet acquisition talks which wound up in late July.

As it stands, the acquisition process between the building company and Korea’s second-largest airline is likely to continue following a tense turn of events over the past week and after HDC agreed to Kumho Industrial’s request for negotiations.

HDC said on Sunday it would “try its best to accept the terms put forward by Kumho,” such as the location and time, to “keep the acquisition process going as smoothly as possible.”

In response, Kumho welcomed HDC’s move the following day and said that it expects “productive talks” to finalize the acquisition deal.

The building company however refuted Kumho Industrial’s claim that it had been turning down requests for a meeting.

“KDB requested us to hold negotiations. We’ve met and negotiated with top level officials from the bank twice, in March and June.”

By Yim Hyun-su (