Asian private-equity firm Affinity Equity Partners, formerly known as UBS Capital Asia Pacific, has reportedly agreed to acquire 100% of the Burger King franchise in South Korea for about $170 million (210 billion won) from VIG Partners, according to The Wall Street Journal.
VIG is “the leading private equity firm in Korea focusing on mid-market buyout,” says the company. The sale of the Burger King franchise represents a profitable exit for VIG, which purchased the exclusive rights to the South Korean operation three years ago for around 110 billion won, and rapidly expanded the Miami-based fast-food chain’s presence in South Korea, added the Journal.
Burger King, which operates more than 240 restaurants in South Korea, is owned globally by Restaurant Brands International Inc.
Last month a Seoul court sentenced an American to 20 years in prison for fatally stabbing a South Korean university student at a Seoul Burger King restaurant in 1997, after he was extradited from the United States following the acquittal of another American, according to the Associated Press.
The sentence by the Seoul Central District Court of Arthur Patterson, 36, from California, was the same that had been earlier requested by prosecutors. Patterson has one week to appeal, according to court spokesman Joon Young Maeng. Patterson was extradited to Seoul in September, 16 years after he fled to the U.S.
“The court decided on a life sentence, but in view of the defendant’s age, of being under 18 at the time, the sentence will be 20 years in prison,” Judge Shim Kyu-hong said. The case had drawn intense public interest in South Korea, where the conduct of U.S. military personnel is closely scrutinized. About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea to help deter potential aggression from North Korea. Crimes involving U.S. military personnel are a long-running source of anti-American sentiments among many South Koreans.
The murder of Cho Joong-pil, 22, in the Itaewon nightlife district, a popular shopping and entertainment district near the U.S. military headquarters in Seoul, fueled discontent towards U.S. military bases in the country. South Korean officials said Arthur John Patterson, whose father was a civilian contractor to the U.S. military, fled to the United States after Cho was found dead on the floor of the restaurant bathroom with stab wounds to his neck and body, added AP.
Affinity Equity Partners, founded in 2005, is one of the largest dedicated Asian private equity firms and focuses on leveraged buyout and growth capital transactions. Affinity operates as a Pan-Asian firm focusing on investment opportunities in Korea, Australia and New Zealand, Greater China and Southeast Asia. The firm is led by Kok-Yew Tang (Chairman and Managing Partner) and Young-Taeg Park (Managing Partner). It has over 50 employees with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, South Korea, Sydney, Australia, Jakarta, Indonesia and Beijing, China.
Affinity was originally known as UBS Capital Asia Pacific to serve as the Asian private equity arm of global Swiss investment bank UBS AG. UBS Capital Asia Pacific was spun out as an independent firm in March 2004. The firm seeks to invest in the consumer related goods and services, value added manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, and business services industry sectors. The firm typically invests in companies based in the Asia Pacific region with a focus on East Asia, Australia, Greater China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. In 2004, Affinity raised its first independent private equity fund, Affinity Asia Pacific Fund II, with $700 million of investor commitments. In 2007, Affinity raised its next fund Affinity Asia Pacific Fund III with $2.8 billion of investor commitments, which was the largest private equity fund raised to that point in Asia. In 2014, Affinity raised a $3.8 billion private-equity fund. The company was founded in 2002 and is based in Central, Hong Kong with additional offices in Singapore; Seoul, Korea; Sydney, Australia; Beijing, China; and Jakarta, Indonesia.
VIG Partners (formerly known as Vogo Investment Group) was founded in 2005, and is “the leading private equity firm in Korea focusing on mid-market buyout.” The firm has a successful investment track record across a diverse range of industries, including financial services, consumer goods, e-commerce, and household appliances. During a 10 year period, VIG Partners has invested over $1.3 billion of capital across 11 portfolio companies in Korea, with controlling stakes in 9 of these companies.The firm’s investments include BKR (master franchisee of Burger King), Samyang Optics (leading interchangeable lens manufacturer), Bodyfriend (#1 massage chair manufacturer), Enuri.com (leading e-commerce portal), Mcorset (leading underwear manufacturer), Tong Yang Life Insurance (#5 largest life insurer), BC Card (largest credit card processing company) and Novita (leading electronic bidet manufacturer).