August 29, 2017 / 5:39 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-South Korea's LG Elec has bid for ZKW - Korea Economic Daily

(Adds ZKW statement)

SEOUL, Aug 29 (Reuters) - South Korea’s LG Electronics took part in a bidding round for car light maker ZKW Group in a deal that could be worth $1.2 billion, Korea Economic Daily said.

LG Electronics, South Korea’s No.2 smartphone maker after Samsung Electronics, has been preparing for the deal for more than one and a half years with its parent LG Corp as part of efforts to diversify its auto electronics business, the report said, citing an industry official.

Tuesday’s report said a preferred bidder is expected to be selected next month.

ZKW said in an emailed statement that different parties have been interested in it over time.

“Today’s news reports from Korea cannot be confirmed from our side. There are no concrete decisions in this context at this point in time,” ZKW said.

An LG Electronics spokeswoman declined to comment. South Korea’s stock exchange asked the company to clarify the media report by noon Seoul time on Wednesday.

Japan’s Panasonic Corp may buy ZKW Group, a person familiar with the matter said in December. But a ZKW spokesperson said at that time that it was not negotiating with Panasonic or other potential suitors.

LG Electronics, along with affiliates like display maker LG Display Co Ltd and battery producer LG Chem , has identified the auto industry as a new growth driver and has been pushing to grow new businesses amid continued struggles for its mobile phones division.

LG’s automotive clients include General Motors and Volkswagen. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin, Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich, Shadia Nasralla in Vienna; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Mark Potter)

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