Citi's Koram Bank purchase triggered high hopes -- and our top deal award

The 2004 acquisition was expected to open up the Korean banking sector and gave hope to other foreign banks’ ambitions in the country, but perhaps Citigroup was the only real winner.

Citigroup fought off strong challenges from Standard Chartered and Temasek to snap up Korea's Koram Bank in 2004 -- a transaction that FinanceAsia called a great MA deal and later that year selected as its 2004 Deal of the Year.

The $2.7 billion acquisition was viewed to have ramifications for the Korean banking industry as well as for Citi's acquisition strategy in the rest of the region and was also credited with having validated the role that private equity can play in Asia.

Four years earlier US private equity firm Carlyle and J.P. Morgan Corsair had bought a 40.5% controlling stake in the bank, Korea's fifth biggest lender, for just...

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