The family of deceased Samsung Electronics chair Lee Kun-hee said on Wednesday it will pay more than 12 trillion won (R154bn) in inheritance taxes for the estate of the late patriarch.

Lee, who is credited with transforming Samsung into the world’s largest smartphone and memory chip maker, died on October 25. His estate, valued at about 26 trillion won (R335bn) according to local media, included shareholdings in Samsung affiliates valued at $17bn (R243bn).

The Lee family’s handling of the hefty inheritance tax bill — one of the largest ever in both Korea and globally — had been closely watched as it could have resulted in the dilution of the family’s controlling stake in Samsung.

The family’s statement on Wednesday did not give details of how Lee’s shares will be distributed among the heirs or whether any will be sold.

The family had been discussing using shares in affiliated companies as collateral for personal loans to pay part of the tax bill, a measure that would avoid the sale of their extensive Samsung holdings, Reuters reported last week, citing sources.

The family is also expected to use dividends from both their own and Lee’s shareholdings to pay the tax, analysts have said.

Lee’s shareholdings included a 4.18% stake in Samsung Electronics, 0.08% of Samsung Electronics preferred shares, 20.76% of Samsung Life Insurance, 2.88% of Samsung C&T, and 0.01% stake in Samsung SDS, which according to South Korean tax code valuation were worth about 18.96 trillion won ($17bn).

Samsung C&T shares dropped as much as 5.5% and Samsung Life Insurance shares fell as much as 1.3% after the announcement.


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