His shares valued at $18.5 million

SEOUL – Influential South Korean producer Chung Taewon is to quit his eponymous production powerhouse Taewon Entertainment.

Chung, who personally held 17% of the company, and other major shareholders FireWorks International (35%) and Cannizaro Asia Master Fund Ltd.(17%), have sold their shares to private buyers Cho Jung-ho and HC Partners, Inc. Transaction was valued at $18.5 million.

Share sales appear to mean the end of the road for the stock market- listed Taewon Entertainment as an entertainment and media operation. Company changed its articles of association this month to make energy and resources its business activities. On Sept 5 it will change its name to MPlus I.

Chung, however, has other plans and has already established an unlisted film company named Taewon Production and will continue to produce and co-produce films.

Projects include the previously announced Yuen Wo-ping comedy actioner “Spaghetti Versus Noodle” and Lee Byung-hun starring TV series “Iris.” Chung expects to be able to reclaim the Taewon Entertainment monicker later.

Decision to quit the bourse appears to have been taken a while back as Chung found the demands of stock market listing, quarterly performance measurement and investor scrutiny incompatible with activities of a movie producer. Taewon Entertainment was one of several Korean film players including Cinema Service and MK Pictures, which used backdoor stock listings to access the capital markets, but with the crashing of the ‘Korean Wave’ soon regretted their decisions.

Chung has an enviable production track record with credits including “My Wife is a Gangster,” “Bichunmoo” and the recent “Three Kingdoms.” Taewon Entertainment was for several years New Line Cinema’s main distribution outlet in Korea.

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