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South Korea's airline M&A left adrift by the pandemic

Asiana deal in danger as Jeju Air cancels Eastar Jet purchase

Asiana logged a 292 billion won operating loss in the first quarter of 2020 as the coronavirus hit air travel hard. (Photo by Rie Ishii) 

SEOUL -- The coronavirus pandemic has already derailed one major acquisition in South Korea's airline industry, now a second hangs in the balance.

HDC Hyundai Development, a midsize building company spun off from the Hyundai group, has been looking to break into aviation by purchasing Asiana Airlines, the country's second-largest carrier. In late December, HDC Chairman Chung Mong-gyu, supported by the country's largest brokerage house Mirae Asset Daewoo, signed a deal to purchase a controlling stake in Asiana for 2.5 trillion won ($2.2 billion) from Kumho Industrial.

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