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(LEAD) SK Telecom completes Hynix takeover
SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- SK Telecom Co., South Korea's top mobile carrier, wrapped up the purchase of a major stake in Hynix Semiconductor Inc. on Tuesday, hoping that the deal will help boost synergy between the chipmaking and telecommunications business.

   SK Telecom said that the company had completed its payment of 3.37 trillion won (US$3 billion) for a 21.05 percent stake in the world's No. 2 memory chipmaker, about three months after signing a takeover deal.

   The figure translates into SK Telecom paying 23,099 won per Hynix share. Hynix closed at 27,550 won on the Seoul bourse on Tuesday.

   "We plan to develop Hynix into a new growth engine and to boost business synergy between the chipmaking and telecommunications business," Ha Sung-min, chief executive at SK Telecom, said in a statement.

   SK Telecom's purchase of Hynix, its biggest acquisition, came as the mobile carrier is seeking to tap into the memory chip sector in a bid to go global amid stagnant local mobile markets.

   Also, the board of Hynix Semiconductor Inc. on Tuesday appointed the owner of SK Group, South Korea's No. 3 conglomerate, as chief executive of the chipmaker, despite controversy over his alleged embezzlement.

   SK Holdings Chairman Chey Tae-won will co-head the chipmaker, together with Kwon Oh-chul, the incumbent chief executive and president of the chipmaker, according to Hynix. Chey will also serve as chairman of the chipmaker.

   SK Holdings is the holding company of SK Group that has SK Telecom under its wing.

   "Chey's appointment will help beef up corporate competitiveness as it will be possible to execute investment at a proper timing under his leadership," the chipmaker said in a statement.

   The move came one day after shareholders of the chipmaker gave the green light to the motion to choose Chey as a board member, despite controversy surrounding Chey's alleged embezzlement group funds.

   Prosecutors indicted the business tycoon on Jan. 5 on charges of embezzling group funds to cover losses from his futures investments. He has been allowed to stand trial without physical detention.

   For years, creditors had a hard time finding a buyer for Hynix Semiconductor because volatile business conditions for the chipmaking sector and the huge investments needed to turn the company around made potential investors wary.

   SK Group plans to inject at least 4.2 trillion won worth of facility investment into Hynix Semiconductor. The chipmaker suffered a loss of 240 billion won in the fourth quarter, the second consecutive quarterly net loss.

   But civic groups voiced concerns about Chey's appointment, claiming that his alleged illegal activity should not be condoned as transparent and ethical management practices are emerging as important values of doing business.

   sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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