Samsung heir Lee inherits key portion of patriarch’s stake

Stakes in Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and affiliates held by its late chairman were divided among his family and appear to bolster the control of his son and the company’s vice chairman, Jay Y. Lee, regulatory filings showed on Friday.

This is the first time the information has been publicly disclosed since Lee Kun-hee, credited with turning Samsung into the world’s largest smartphone and memory chip maker, died last October.

The inheritance was shared by his son Jay Y. Lee, daughters Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun, and wife Hong Ra-hee.

Jay Y. Lee’s stake in Samsung Life Insurance (032830.KS) rose to 10.44% from 0.06% as he inherits half his father’s shares in the insurer.

His sisters inherit one-third and one-sixth of the late Lee’s shares in Samsung Life respectively, while Hong inherits none, according to the filing.

Samsung Life Insurance plays a key role in controlling Samsung Electronics, as the tech giant’s largest shareholder with an 8.51% stake.

Jay Y. Lee controls an additional 19.34% of Samsung Life Insurance through de facto holding company Samsung C&T (028260.KS). Samsung C&T holds a 5% stake in the tech giant.

“Vice chairman Jay Y. Lee’s management control of Samsung Electronics has been stabilised, by securing about 30% of Samsung Life Insurance in total,” said Park Ju-gun, head of research firm Leaders Index.

“The chain of ownership that goes from Samsung C&T to Life to Electronics remains firm.”

The heir is currently halfway through a 30-month jail sentence for bribery and other offences.

Meanwhile, the late Lee’s stakes in Samsung C&T (028260.KS) and Samsung Electronics were inherited according to South Korean law’s inheritance ratio, with Jay Y. Lee and his two sisters receiving about 22% each of the late Lee’s stakes, and wife Hong Ra-hee receiving about 33%.

This makes Hong, 75, the biggest individual shareholder in Samsung Electronics with a 2.3% stake worth 11.2 trillion won as of Friday’s closing.

“Hong now holds a partial casting vote in Samsung Electronics,” Park said.

Lee Kun-hee’s shareholdings included a 4.18% stake in Samsung Electronics, 20.76% of Samsung Life Insurance and 2.88% of Samsung C&T, which according to South Korean tax code valuation were worth about 18.96 trillion won ($17 billion).

The family paid its first instalment of about 2 trillion won in inheritance tax on Friday, Yonhap news agency reported. Spokespeople for the tax agency office and for the family’s law firm, Kim & Chang, could not be immediately reached for comment.