We first need to get a sense of Samsung’s corporate structure to gain a better understanding of what Elliott wants to achieve and what it tried to achieve last year. The Samsung Group is a family-run conglomerate, they are commonly known as chaebols in South Korea and the country has quite a few of them, such as Samsung rival LG. There are 58 affiliates under the conglomerate’s umbrella all of which are bound together by a complex web of cross-shareholders.
Elliott’s fight with Samsung and by extension with the Lee family last year was over the proposed merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries. It argued that the Lee family orchestrated this deal to consolidate their power over Samsung Electronics – which is most certainly the crown jewel of the Samsung empire – at the expense of minority shareholders. Elliott had a 7.1 percent stake in Samsung C&T at that time while heir apparent Lee Jae Yong who is also the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and his family members owned 42 percent of Cheil Industries which itself owned just 1.4 percent of Samsung C&T.
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