Hotel Shilla to acquire 44% of 3Sixty Duty Free in a partnership to develop the Americas travel retail business

In a major breaking news story that could usher in a new player with strong Asian links in the Americas travel retail channel, Hotel Shilla, the parent company of Shilla Duty Free, South Korea’s leading travel retailer, will subscribe 44% of the share capital of 3Sixty Holding LLC (formerly DFASS).

The two Companies issued a joint statement announcing the agreement between Shilla and 3Sixty Chairman and Founder, US entrepreneur, Benny Klepach.

The two parties will have additional rights in five years. Closing of the deal is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Boo-Jin Lee, CEO of Hotel Shilla, 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 (more and more influenced by Asian travelers) and to leverage each other’s competencies in the digital business to continue to lead the omni-channel disruption of Travel Retail.”

3Sixty Chairman and Founder Benny Klepach

Ingyu Han, President of 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 finalize this important expansion for our company.”

Benny Klepach affirmed: “We have always considered Shilla a potential strong partner to help us achieve our strategic objectives and continuing to lead the digital disruption in our industry. 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 of 3Sixty

Roberto Graziani, Executive Vice Chairman of 3Sixty, concluded: “We, at 3Sixty, 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.”

According to a note and comment in The MoodieDavitt Report, Shilla and the then-DFASS had previously entered into an agreement for Shilla to acquire 44% of the Miami company for US$105 in March 2015. Those talks were mutually cancelled two years later. “While no price has been revealed this time around, the sum involved is likely to be considerably greater than in 2015 based on 3Sixty’s improved turnover, performance, management structure and digital strategy. Suggestions in the Korean media of a US$121 million price tag are understood to be well short of the mark as it excludes key aspects of the deal,” noted Martin Moodie in his comment.