Billionaire founder of Lotte Group leaves no will? Let the plotting begin

A view of a funeral altar for Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-ho at Hyundai Asan Hospital in Seoul, South Korea, on Jan 19, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
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(BLOOMBERG) - It was once a great blessing for an emperor to have a son. But if he has more than one, succession could threaten to unravel the empire - especially if his grip was weak.

Over six decades, Mr Shin Kyuk-ho turned a chewing-gum business into South Korea's fifth-largest conglomerate, spanning hotels, shopping malls, movie chains and cafes. It's no secret that the founder of Lotte Group was near the end of his life: He died over the weekend at 97 after slipping into dementia years ago. While the patriarch involved his children in the family business, Mr Shin never established a clear heir apparent. Miraculously, he didn't even leave a will, South Korean media has reported.

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