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South Korean activist funds pick up steam on legal change

K-pop agency SM, other companies under pressure from homegrown investor groups

South Korean companies SM Entertainment and KT&G are among those that have drawn the attention of local activist investors. (Source photos by Reuters and AP) 

SEOUL -- Homegrown activist funds in South Korea are increasingly vocal as they target companies, including a major K-pop agency, with ambitious plans to alter corporate governance in a country where minority shareholders have often struggled to effect change.

The activism has shown mixed results so far but comes amid a sharp increase in activity. The number of South Korean companies under pressure by local shareholder activism jumped to 47 last year from 10 in 2020, according to KB Securities.

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