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VIG Partners prepares sale of used-car retailer Autoplus Autoplus is one of investments made from the Seoul-based PE firm’s third fund

Translated by Ryu Ho-joung 공개 2022-05-17 08:02:16

이 기사는 2022년 05월 17일 08:01 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

VIG Partners is looking for a buyer for South Korean used-car retailer Autoplus, one of its third fund’s portfolio companies.

The Seoul-based private equity firm recently hired an adviser to handle the sale process for Autoplus, industry sources said.

Autoplus, which was founded in 2000, buys and sells used cars both online and in person. It recorded revenue of 212.6 billion won ($165.5 million) in 2021, exceeding the 200 billion won mark for the first time.

VIG Partners is sounding out potential buyers for its stake in Autoplus at a time when the pandemic-driven shift to online buying and certified used vehicles have increased the growth potential of the South Korean used-car market. Used cars represent only a low proportion of the country’s total car sales compared to other countries, another factor indicating the growth potential of the market.

VIG Partners bought the used-car retailer for 110 billion won in 2017. Of the acquisition cost, 60 billion won was financed through its third fund, which closed at 700 billion won in 2016.

The fund’s investors included South Korea’s National Pension Service and other large domestic and foreign institutions. Among the fund’s other portfolio companies are funeral service provider PreedLife, food wholesaler Winplus and beauty contact lens maker Star Vision. Winplus made the add-on acquisition of Foodist in 2020.

The sale process for Autoplus comes after VIG Partners successfully made a full exit from Star Vision in April. The firm sold its 41% stake in the contact lens maker back to the company’s original owner for 230 billion won, compared to 137.5 billion won it paid for the stake in 2018.

VIG Partners also made partial exits from some of the third fund’s investments. It sold a 10% stake in PreedLife for 50 billion won to Mastern Investment Management last year, and also sold two of Foodist’s logistics facilities for 117.4 billion won.

Many expect PreedLife to be the next company that will be put up for sale by VIG Partners. It is said several investment banks have approached the private equity firm to be mandated as sale adviser since last year. (Reporting by Hyo-jung Lim)
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