S. Korea’s sovereign fund nixes plan to buy into LA Dodgers

SEOUL, June 21 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s sovereign wealth fund has abandoned its plan to buy a stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers, a Major League Baseball club, as part of a broader move to diversify its investment portfolio, sources familiar with the matter said Sunday.

The Korea Investment Corporation (KIC), which manages assets entrusted by South Korea’s central bank, had been in talks to buy a 19-percent stake in the Dodgers from U.S.-based investment firm Guggenheim Partners since last year, a deal estimated at 400 billion won (US$361 million).

According to the office of Rep. Park Won-suk of the minor opposition Justice Party and industry sources, the KIC recently backed down in the wake of a state audit into the investment plan.

Last week, the Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea started looking into whether the KIC had made a decision to invest in the U.S. baseball club in a proper manner.

The LA Dodgers, which had won the World Series six times, are popular among South Koreans as Korean-born star pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin has been playing on the team, following ex-Dodger Park Chan-ho, the first Korean to enter the American major league in 1994.