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Samsung C&T shareholders OK'd merger

Staff writer |
Samsung controlling family scored a major victory over U.S. hedge fund Elliott Associates, as shareholders approved an $8 billion merger of two Samsung affiliates.

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The meger would solidify heir apparent Lee Jae-yong’s grip on the conglomerate’s crown jewel, Samsung Electronics.

But the merger, which passed with 69.5% of the shareholder votes cast after a bitter, won’t put a stop to the pressures on Mr. Lee, who now faces increased expectations from angry minority shareholders as well as a potentially long legal battle with the hedge fund.

The merger between the Samsung conglomerate’s de facto holding company, Cheil Industries, and its construction-and-trading arm Samsung C&T, will help streamline Samsung’s convoluted ownership structure, which consists of about 70 affiliates tied together by a complex web of cross-shareholdings.

Through the merger, Mr. Lee, who has a 23% share of Cheil Industries, will now have greater control over Samsung C&T’s 4.1% stake in Samsung Electronics. The heir apparent is seeking to increase his influence on Samsung Electronics ahead of an expected inheritance from his ailing father, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee.

The elder Mr. Lee owns a 3.4% stake in Samsung Electronics.

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