TPG moves out of South Korea(2)

Buyout firm Texas Pacific Group has closed its South Korean office, soon after two rival firms ran into legal difficulties in the country amid a growing backlash against foreign investors.

US buyout firm Texas Pacific Group has closed down its South Korea office, not long after two other rival firms with aspirations in the region found themselves at the centre of legal proceedings.

TPG has taken the decision to close down its office in Seoul and manage its South Korean investments from Hong Kong. The relocation follows the recent difficulties faced by US firms Warburg Pincus and Lone Star Funds, both of whom are currently facing legal prosecutions in the country. 

However, although TPG declined to comment, a source close to the firm said the closure of the office was “nothing to do with” the recent hostility. Instead, the decision was taken that investments in the region could be handled from the firm’s Hong Kong office, as with several other Asian countries.

A Warburg Pincus executive was recently jailed for four years for insider trading in the shares of Korean credit card company LG Card, while the Korean authorities are attempting to extradite two Lone Star executives amid charges that the firm conspired with officials to artificially depress the purchase price of Shinsei bank.

Lone Star Funds announced at the beginning of April that it was auctioning two of its Korean portfolio companies, StarLease and Kukdong Engineering and Construction, fuelling speculation it now plans to exit the country altogether, although it has since denied these claims.

TPG Newbridge has around 40 professionals in offices in Hong Kong, Melbourne, Mumbai, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.