On January 10, Edison Motors 에디슨 모터스 finalized the contract to acquire Ssangyong Motors 쌍용자동차 out of bankruptcy for KRW 304.8b (USD 256.8m).
Ssangyong, South Korea’s fourth largest automaker, has had a long history of financial troubles dating back to the 1997 East Asian Financial Crisis. The harrowing journey of Ssangyong Motors’ workers, who faced mass layoffs, brutal strike-breaking crackdown and a wave of suicides, was chronicled in the best selling nonfiction book Musical Chairs 의자놀이 and inspired the main character Gi-hun 기훈 in the Netflix series Squid Game 오징어게임. Edison Motors acquired Ssangyong from yet another bankruptcy from April 2021. (See previous coverage, “Ssangyong Motors Bankrupt Again.”)
Edison, a mid-sized company specializing in the production of electric buses, is a surprising bidder for Ssangyong: in 2020, Edison’s revenue was KRW 89.7b (USD 75.6m), while Ssangyong revenue for the same year was KRW 2.9t (USD 2.4b). For the acquisition, Edison formed a consortium with Korea Corporate Governance Improvement (KCGI), a private equity fund that will receive between 34 and 49% of the shares in Ssangyong.