(Courtesy of Bodyfriend)
South Korean midcap buyout fund VIG Partners said Monday it has selected domestic private equity firm Stonebridge Capital as the preferred bidder to sell its stake in massage chair company Bodyfriend.
The selling price will be announced when the proposed buyer and seller sign a binding deal by the end of this year, according to VIG Partners.
VIG Partners said in a statement the deal will prompt the fund house’s exit from the portfolio companies for its second flagship blind pool fund, created in 2011.
The news comes more than six years after VIG Partners bought Bodyfriend’s controlling percent stake for roughly 300 billion won ($254 million) in April 2015, teaming up with Shinhan Venture Investment, which was then a venture capital arm under the umbrella of the Doosan conglomerate. In 2016, VIG led another round of 100 billion won in investments in Bodyfriend.
Since the buyout deal, Bodyfriend sought to go public, only to face hurdles. In 2019, Bodyfriend stopped short of gaining approval for a listing on the Korea Exchange from the stock market operator.
Bodyfriend was founded in 2007, and the company is now Korea‘s largest massage chair company. In 2020, Bodyfriend logged 52.2 billion won in operating profit, up 27 percent from the previous year.
Stonebridge Capital split off from alternative investment house IMM Investment in 2008. Its private equity portfolio includes Aekyung Industrial, Ajin Industry, Jcontentree and SK Energy.