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Samsung torn over Moon's push to break up chaebol

South Korea's top conglomerate pressed to spin off insurer key to family control

South Korean government figures have pressed Samsung to adopt a holding structure to produce a win for President Moon Jae-in's effort to reform the country's conglomerates.
The South Korean government has pressured Samsung to adopt a holding company structure to produce a win for President Moon Jae-in's efforts to reform the country's conglomerates.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- Samsung Group faces a difficult decision on its life insurance arm as South Korea's government presses family-owned conglomerates to spin off financial units, part of President Moon Jae-in's effort to weaken their power.

Samsung Life Insurance's major stake in core company Samsung Electronics makes it a cornerstone of the group's structure, and leaves the prospect of selling to an outsider seem unappetizing. But the other option of having another group company buy out the insurer's stake would require massive funding.

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