Questions Remain over Samsung Inheritance

  • By Shin Eun-jin

    April 29, 2021 12:00

    Samsung on Wednesday did not reveal how much of patriarch Lee Kun-hee's shareholdings in Samsung subsidiaries each heir is going to inherit.

    Lee owned 4.18 percent of Samsung Electronics, 20.75 percent of Samsung Life, a controlling 2.88 percent of de facto holding company Samsung C&T, and 0.01 percent of Samsung SDI, worth a total of around W19 trillion.

    The Byzantine ownership structure of Samsung, Korea's largest conglomerate, means that who controls the empire depends on how those equity stakes will be distributed between Lee's widow Hong Ra-hee, son Lee Jae-yong and daughters Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun.

    By law, Hong stands to receive W6.3 trillion worth of shares in Samsung affiliates, while the three children each get W4.2 trillion. But an inside source said, "The inheritance was not divided according to the legal ratio. I'm told that Hong gave up her portion." That means the stakes will be divided by the three children.

    Lee Jae-yong is already the new Samsung chief while his sisters have smaller roles in the family empire. The prevailing view is that they reached an agreement to ensure the inherited stakes will secure his control over the conglomerate.

    Lee senior did not leave a will, so 50 percent of the shares are expected to go to Lee Jae-yong, while the two daughters get 25 percent each. Lee Jae-yong already owns a 0.7 percent stake in Samsung Electronics and will end up with most of his father's equity in the electronics giant, while the two daughters are expected to inherit their late father's stocks in Samsung Life.

    Rumor said that the reason the allocation was not announced is that there remains some conflict in the family, but Samsung denied the speculation and said the stake allocation will be announced soon.

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