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Hankook diversifying with purchase of digital prototyping firm

SEOUL, South Korea — Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. is acquiring a 75-percent equity stake in Model Solution Ltd., a Seoul-based digital prototype company active in the electronic and medical devices sector.

The $64 million acquisition is seen as a diversification move into high-tech for Hankook, which is roughly 90-percent focused on tires.

The transaction, which is subject to South Korean regulatory approvals, is expected to close within 60 days.

Hankook said it plans to incorporate Model Solution as an affiliate company. It’s acquiring the 75-percent equity stake from Model Solution‘s two owners — United Kingdom electronics company Laird P.L.C. (51 percent) and global private equity firm Crescendo Equity Partners (24 percent).

The parties did not identify the owner of the remaining 25-percent ownership stake.

Hankook said the deal aims to “adapt the convergence of digital transformation and mobility-IT industry trends.” The company also indicated it would pursue additional acquisitions related to mobility and the IT industry, not limited to the tire industry.

Hankook did not disclose Model Solution’s annual sales.

Founded in 1993, Model Solution designs and builds prototypes and molds for IT equipment such as electronic and medical devices. Model Solution began its work in prototype solution services in 2007 and has more than 420 clients globally.

The company possesses the best technical and design skills in the industry to provide top-notch design and prototyping support. Moreover, it is leading the prototype industry by constantly developing high-tech skills such as 3D printing.

Hankook anticipates realizing synergies involving Model Solution and its existing M&K Technology subsidiary, a super-size mold equipment company.

Laird acquired its 51-percent shareholding in April 2014; its board of directors resolved last December to divest the holding. Laird listed the business’ net assets at year-end 2017 as $53 million.

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