December 06, 2019

SK chairman urges deregulation for more corporate acquisition of startups

PUBLISHED : June 26, 2019 - 18:07

UPDATED : June 26, 2019 - 18:28

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SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won urged the South Korean government to pursue more deregulation to foster corporate acquisitions of startups and spur nationwide innovation.

“One constraint in (SK Group’s) investments in startups is, if we acquire more than 20 percent stake, the startup will become an group affiliate,” Chey told some 2,700 people who gathered for SparkLabs Demoday in Seoul on June 26. “This means both the startup and SK Group will be subject to monitoring by the antitrust authorities.”

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won (left) speaks during SparkLabs Demoday with SparkLabs co-founder and general partner Lee Han-joo on June 26.

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Making a surprise appearance at the event held by the Seoul-based global accelerator, Chey expressed “a wish” that the corporate-led startup stake acquisition be exempt from the fair trade rules, in the nation where conglomerates’ shareholding structures have long come under scrutiny. The deregulation will add to startups’ dexterity, the chairman added.

“How would startup entrepreneurs be able to leverage their speed? If I were one of them, I would find what I am good at and who its potential buyer would be, know who needs my solution. I would be able to be quicker to adjust the company goal accordingly.”

Chey also said startups are fast enough to hop on the digital transformation that creates social value by measuring the unmeasurable, while the smokestack industry is on the verge of changes. The remarks came amid the demoday sessions for its 13th batch startups: AbuHakim, A-Impact, ALBA Watch, PlayKeyboard, CareDoc, Curiochips, Featuring, SmartJack, Spiceware, Standing Tall, Whelp and xsync.

By Son Ji-hyoung (

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