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SK Inc. surges 16% after chair’s $1 billion divorce settlement

Chey Tae-won, billionaire and chairman of SK Group, prepares to leave after speaking during the Nikkei Forum Future of Asia in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. 

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shares of SK Inc., one of South Korea’s biggest conglomerates, surged as much as 16% on Thursday after a court reportedly ordered the company’s chairman to pay $1 billion to his wife in a divorce lawsuit.

Chey Tae-won was told by a Seoul court to pay 1.38 trillion Korean won to his estranged wife, Roh Soh-yeong.

Prior local reports suggested Roh was seeking around 2 trillion won as part of a settlement and some of Chey’s shares in SK Inc. The final settlement is lower, perhaps explaining the jump in SK Inc. shares, which eventually closed more than 9% higher in Seoul.

SK Inc. was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

SK Inc. is one of Korea’s largest technology conglomerates and is the holding company for SK Hynix, one of the world’s biggest memory chip firms, as well as for mobile network SK Telecom.

The saga began in 2015 after Chey admitted to having a child out of wedlock. He filed for divorce against Roh in 2017.

During the long-running legal battle, Roh’s lawyers reportedly argued that her late father, the former South Korean President Roh Tae-woo, gave Chey money in the 1990s, which was used to grow the SK Inc. business. Chey’s legal team said that no such funding existed.

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