(Bloomberg) – Hong Ra-hee, wife of the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee, raised her fortune to more than $ 7 billion after receiving billions of dollars in shares in the transfer so many expected assets from her husband.
Hong, 75, inherited around 83 million shares of Samsung Electronics Co., making him the tech giant’s largest individual shareholder with a 2.3% stake, according to a filing last week. . Hong is South Korea’s richest woman with a net worth of $ 7.4 billion at the close of trading on Monday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
This is another consequence of the massive transfer of wealth after Lee’s death, which saw his son Jay Y. cement control of the group after his holdings increased significantly in key subsidiaries. The late Lee’s only son is worth $ 12.6 billion, according to the index, while his sisters Boo-jin and Seo-hyun have seen their wealth increase to $ 5 and $ 4.4 billion, respectively.
“It’s a win-win situation for family members,” said Park Ju-gun, director of Seoul-based research firm Leaders Index. “It ensured more stable control for Jay Y. Lee, while the rest of the family had a stronger voice with their increased stakes.”
A spokeswoman for Samsung Electronics declined to comment on the family’s net worth.
Billionaires will transfer more than $ 2 trillion over the next two decades, according to research by UBS Group AG and PwC. The families of Petr Kellner and Heinz Hermann Thiele are set to inherit fortunes worth more than $ 30 billion after the entrepreneurs suddenly passed away this year at age 56 and 79, respectively.
The succession drama of South Korea’s largest company has rocked the country since the late Lee, the longtime patriarch and head of Samsung Electronics, suffered a heart attack in 2014. Jay Y. Lee has been accused in two different trials of illegal behavior to ensure control over the conglomerate and is currently serving a prison sentence after a corruption conviction in the first case.
Hong received most of the late Lee’s stake in Samsung Electronics as it was split 3: 2: 2: 2 between herself and her three children. Hong got around 33% of the shareholding, while his children each received around 22%, according to the legally prescribed ratio.
The shares of the other main subsidiaries of the conglomerate, its de facto holding company Samsung C&T Corp. and Samsung SDS Co., were transferred at the same ratio.
But Jay Y. was able to tighten his grip by receiving half of his father’s shares in Samsung Life Insurance Co., taking his stake to more than 10% from 0.06%. Samsung Life owns 8.5% of Samsung Electronics.
Last week, the family announced plans to pay one of the biggest inheritance tax bills at more than 12 trillion won ($ 10.7 billion), along with plans to donate 1 trillion won. won for medical facilities and around 23,000 works of art, including pieces by Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet.
Hong ran Samsung’s Leeum Museum, which houses works such as “Untitled (Black Figure)” by Jean-Michel Basquiat and “Two Candles” by Gerhard Richter. She resigned as a director in 2017 and has not taken on any managerial positions in the Samsung companies.
“It’s an extraordinary concentration of wealth,” Park said. “The fortune of this single-family home creates inequalities even between conglomerates.”
(Add other billionaire wealth transfers in the sixth paragraph.)
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