SK Telecom readies for move into financial services with Hana Financial stake

SK Telecom readies for move into financial services with Hana Financial stake

South Korean mobile telco SK Telecom is set to buy a 49% stake in credit card operator Hana Financial, in a move that is likely to accelerate the convergence of telecoms and banking transactions in the country.

Local paper Yonhap News reports that SK Telecom had agreed to pay $343.4 for its stake in the country's fourth-largest finanial services group, citing an unnamed source. The deal is expected to be agreed on Monday, the paper says.

SK Telecom already operates an international P2P payments joint venture, Mobile Money Ventures, in partnership with Citigroup.

A tie-up with Hana would give the firm a foothold in the country's mature $400 billion credit card market.

In South Korea, 97% of the population own a mobile phone while most adults also carry more than four credit cards, creating opportunities for new revenue streams through the convergence of telecoms and banking.

Hana Financial chairman Kim Seung-yu told a news conference last month that the introduction of next generation smartphones would provide a sound business case for combining telecoms, financial and retail services.

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