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Local PEF zeroes in on Mr. Pizza acquisition

July 23, 2020 - 11:08 By Son Ji-hyoung
An exterior view of Mr. Pizza restaurant (Yonhap)

TR Investment has been given exclusive rights to negotiate with shareholders of MP Group, the operator of pizza restaurant chain Mr. Pizza, to buy a 41.39 percent stake for 35 billion won ($29.19 million), a disclosure showed Thursday.

Under the binding memorandum of understanding, the South Korean private equity firm has agreed to buy 10 million existing shares of MP Group -- which operates pizza restaurants and coffeehouse chain -- from its current major shareholders including founder and ex-chairman Jung Woo-hyun, for 15 billion won. MP Group will also issue 40 million new shares, valued at 20 billion won.

As a result, Jung will remain the second-largest shareholder of MP Group following the transaction, holding 29.5 million shares out of some 120 million shares.

TR Investment’s exclusive rights to bid for the takeover will be effective for a month, according to the disclosure. In the meantime, TR Investment will conduct a two-week due diligence for the acquisition deal.

The news comes a month after MP Group announced plans to put its stake up for sale to improve transparency in management of the company whose trading on the Kosdaq bourse has been suspended since July 2017. MP Group has selected Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers as the deal manager.

Jung was sentenced to a three-year jail term suspended for four years by a high court in December 2019, on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust.

TR Investment is a Changwon-based private equity house founded in 2013. It has invested in Korean companies including optical fiber pick-up product maker Optrontec.

By Son Ji-hyoung (