SK Shieldus being sold to Swedish private equity firm

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Mar. 2, 2023 9:48PM GMT+9

South Korea’s biggest cybersecurity company is facing a change in ownership as its largest shareholder announced their plan to sell almost half of its shares to a Swedish private equity firm.

Park Jung-ho, the CEO of SK Square, revealed the company’s plan to sell their shares of SK Shieldus to EQT, an investment firm backed by Sweden’s Wallenberg family, during a press conference on Wednesday in Barcelona.

Park Jung-ho, the CEO of SK Square, is delivering his speech during a press conference on Wednesday in Barcelona. Source: SK Square

SK Square is the largest shareholder of the country’s top information security company, having a 63.1% stake in the company. The rest of the cybersecurity firm’s shares are owned by a consortium led by Macquarie Asset Management.

In a statement, SK Square said that EQT will acquire a part of their stake and all 36.9% of consortium’s portion for nearly two trillion won ($1.5 billion). In addition, the private equity firm will also buy new shares, turning it into the largest shareholder of the information security firm with a 68.0% stake.

“By handing over a portion of our stake, SK Square procured 864 billion won ($660 million),” said the company. “After the deal is closed, we will be a major shareholder with a 32.0% stake.”

SK Square stated that they will manage the cybersecurity company together with the Swedish private equity firm. The company is planning to go through various procedures to finish their deal within the third quarter, including the corporate consolidation examination conducted by the Fair Trade Commission.

“We cannot share any information related to the matter as the deal has not been finalized,” said Carol Park, a spokesperson of the EQT Seoul Office, when The Readable asked about the recent acquisition. The Swedish private equity firm opened their office in South Korea on February 21.

The cover image of this article was designed by Sangseon Kim.

Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and privacy by engaging with industry giants, foreign government officials and experts. Before joining The Readable, Kuksung reported on politics for one of South Korea’s top-five local newspapers, The Kyeongin Ilbo. Her journalistic skills and reportage earned her the coveted Journalists Association of Korea award in 2021 for her essay detailing exclusive stories about the misconduct of a former government official. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a testament to her linguistic capabilities.