TRBusiness can confirm that Hotel Shilla has agreed to purchase a 44% stake in 3Sixty Duty Free (formerly known as DFASS Group), subject to customary regulatory approvals.
According to an announcement from the Financial Supervisory Service in Korea, which was forward to TRBusiness, the value of the acquisition is $121m and the purpose is to ‘secure bridgeheads’ to enter the Americas’s duty free business. Strengthening the global competitiveness of its tax free business is also a priority, as indicated in the announcement.
As reported back in 2015, Hotel Shilla had agreed to buy a 44% stake for $104.8m as part of a broad strategic partnership to enable it to become a global leader in DF&TR. Two year later, however, news emerged the deal had collapsed.
According to a joint statement from 3Sixty Duty Free, owned by Benny Klepach, Chairman and Founder and Hotel Shilla, led by CEO Boo-Jin Lee, both parties will have additional rights under the terms of the acquisition in five years.
AN ‘IMPORTANT PILLAR’ FOR HOTEL SHILLA
Lee stated: “Today, we have achieved another important pillar of our development strategy. With the partnership with 3Sixty we aim to develop the business in the Americas region (which is more and more influenced by Asian travellers) and to leverage each other’s competencies in the digital business to continue to lead the omnichannel disruption of travel retail.”
Ingyu Han, President, Shilla Travel Retail added: “As is publicly known, negotiation with 3Sixty started quite a while ago and there were some hurdles to overcome to achieve our objective. However, 3Sixty’s continued commitment to its strategic approach and its latest accomplishments, together with the expertise and enthusiasm we found in the 3Sixty management team, gave us the trust to eventually finalise this important expansion for our company.”
According to Klepach, 3Sixty always considered Shilla as a potentially strong partner to help achieve its strategic objectives and to continue to lead digital disruption in DF&TR.
3Sixty Duty Free has already emphasised its intention to lead disruption in the channel with the establishment of a joint venture with Singapore Airlines and ground-handling provider SATS to engage in travel-related retail operations.
This resulted in the official release of Singapore Airlines’ (KriShop) new omnichannel platform in August. An agreement with Avianca Holdings was also signed at the start of the year, to implement 3Sixty’s omnichannel solution for Avianca (Colombia), Aerogal (Ecuador), TACA (Peru), and Lacsa (Costa Rica).
Klepach remarked: “With Shilla in our shareholding structure we can compete successfully for every airport opportunity in the Americas.
“We will leverage Shilla’s competences in airport and digital retail and its merchandise categories strengths. On the other hand, we will offer Shilla our knowledge of the specific regional environment, our recent developments in the digital business, our unique business model and strong relationships in the liquor category.”
Roberto Graziani, Executive Vice Chairman, 3Sixty Duty Free, who discussed the omnichannel opportunity at length with TRBusiness earlier this year concluded: “We are very happy about this new strong partnership. It delivers to us a very powerful mix of expertise, competence, commitment and financial strengths that will help us achieve our vision. We are looking forward to starting this fruitful collaboration.”