Three consortia have joined a final auction to acquire Kumho Industrial's 31% stake in Asiana Airlines (OZ, Seoul Incheon) and its affiliates, it was confirmed on November 8. Kumho Industrial parent Kumho Asiana Group expects to select a preferred bidder in about a week and complete the sale by the end of 2019, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

The Aekyung-Stonebridge consortium, the Hyundai Development Co (HDC) and Mirae Asset Daewoo consortium, and the Korea Corporate Governance Improvement (KCGI) and BankerStreet private equity consortium submitted their final bids to deal manager Credit Suisse on November 7.

Aekyung and HDC, which have been seen as the frontrunners, reportedly presented acquisition prices of around KRW1.5 trillion won (USD1.3 billion) and KRW2.5 trillion (USD2.16 billion), respectively, according to Yonhap.

“News reports that HDC has submitted a price that is far higher than Aekyung's appear to have helped drive up Asiana's and its affiliates' stock prices,” Park Hee-chul, an analyst at Mirae Asset Daewoo, an investment bank, told the news agency.

However, despite its lower sum, Aekyung has stressed that it is the only bidder with 13 years of experience in operating an airline, as Aekyung Group parent AK Holdings holds a 56.9% stake in budget carrier Jeju Air (7C, Jeju).

Kumho Asiana wants to sell the stake as part of broader restructuring efforts. The six affiliates involved as part of the deal include two budget carriers: Air Seoul (RS, Seoul Incheon), which is wholly owned by Asiana, and Air Busan (BX, Busan), which is 46% owned by Asiana.