VIG scores second deal from $600m Fund III

The South Korean firm will acquire used car retailer Autoplus for $100m.

Seoul-based private equity firm VIG Partners will acquire South Korean used car retailer Autoplus for KRW 110 billion ($100 million; €93 million), its second deal from its latest buyout fund.

Under the terms of deal, VIG will pick up a 100 percent stake in Autoplus, of which KRW 50 billion will be composed of new shares, the firm said in a statement.

The firm made the investment from VIG Partners Fund III, a 2016-vintage vehicle that closed on $600 million in February this year, exceeding the original target of $500 million.

VIG seeks control positions in Korea-headquartered companies with enterprise values ranging from $50 million to $300 million. VIG recently acquired a 84 percent stake in a funeral service provider Jo-Un Life for $56.5 million. According to managing partner Jason Shin, the firm is likely to make another two investments this year from its latest vehicle.

Commenting on the transaction, Songwook An, managing Partner of VIG Partners, said: “Despite its size and growth potential, the customer’s trust level in Korea’s used car industry is still relatively low. We believe there will be increasing demand for reliable used car retailers and Autoplus will be able to capture such growth as being one of the largest institutionalised players.”

Shin added that the firm will focus on strengthening brand awareness among retail customers, expanding dealers nationwide, as well as establishing more Autoplus Trust Centers that serve as a one-stop shop for refurbishing, repairs and dealers showroom.

Autoplus was established in 2000 and is one of two companies in South Korea that sells certified used cars for domestic automobile brands. The company also offers maintenance and refurbishment services for used cars.

Autoplus CEO Deuk-Myung Kim will remain as the company’s CEO following the transaction.

The deal is expected to close by end-May 2017.