Samsung Electronics Co Ltd will consider splitting itself into two as proposed by U.S. activist hedge fund Elliott Management. The South Korean company has been struggling to maintain its share value following the failure of its Note 7 brand of smart phones.
The split would allow the heirs of the company to strengthen their grip on the global smartphone leader, the crown jewel of the Samsung Group business empire.
Board of Directors of Samsung are to meet on Tuesday to consider the proposal by Elliott.
The hedge fund wants the company to divide into a holding vehicle for ownership purposes and an operating company, pay a $26 billion special dividend, pledge to return at least 75 percent of free cash flow to investors and agree to appoint some independent directors.
Neither the Lee family nor Samsung Group have commented on restructuring plans, but the conglomerate’s reorganization efforts have accelerated since Jay Y. Lee took over the reins after his father and Samsung patriarch Lee Kun-hee was incapacitated following a May 2014 heart attack.
The company has sold non-core assets while pushing through a merger of two affiliates in 2015 to consolidate stakes in key affiliates under a company controlled by Jay Y. Lee and his two sisters, as the founding family moves to secure a stable transfer of control.
“Even if the Korean company does not comment on specifics such as the timing of a split … the firm will at least say it will implement ownership structure changes in a reasonable manner,” HI Investment said in a report on Monday.