South Korean retail giant Shinsegae Group is acquiring the SK Wyverns baseball team from SK Group for 122 million U.S. dollars.
The group announced on Tuesday that E-Mart, run by Shinsegae, has decided to buy the baseball club from SK Telecom, the country's largest mobile carrier.
SK Group's sudden disposal of the team has surprised sports fans.
Based in Incheon, the Wyverns have won four Korean Series, most recently in 2018. Shinsegae said that the acquisition is part of the group's long term strategy to integrate online and offline marketing led by E-Mart and SSG.com.
Shinsegae has been looking to acquire a baseball club for many years as it sought to use the team as an experience-based marketing tool for its online retail market.
Part of this strategy is the group's plan to redevelop the baseball stadium into a "lifestyle center" where people can experience various services while watching baseball games.
On the other hand, SK Group's reasoning behind selling the team is to shift its support toward the development of amateur sports.
It also decided that as a retail chain, E-Mart would be better placed to make the most of operating the team.
With the deal expected to be completed on February 23rd, SK Telecom's one-hundred percent stake in the team as well as the club's properties and facilities will be handed over to E-Mart.
The official launch of the club is set for March with the new name and logo.
Kim Sung-min, Arirang News.