Shareholders were apparently upset because the massive outlay could instead have been put back into the company for research and development or other improvements. Instead, the company reportedly bid triple the land's appraised value, says Reuters. The announcement caused Hyundai's stock price to plummet a massive 9 percent, and there were losses from Kia and the company's parts arm, as well. All told, the three of them lost nearly $8 billion in value from the falling share prices – almost enough to pay for the controversial land.
Hyundai currently has its headquarters on the outskirts of Seoul, but seems keen to move to the high-end Gangnam district to show off its rising status. It plans to build a new office complex, hotel, convention center and theme park on the site. According to an analyst speaking to Reuters, that could all cost an additional $6 billion to complete.
"In order to achieve production capacity of 10 million cars and bolster brand value that befits a global top-five company, we need a global business center. The bid is the result of comprehensively reviewing its value as a symbol of the group's second growth phase," a Hyundai spokesperson told Reuters. The company and electronics giant Samsung were both bidding to buy the land from Korea Electric Power, but clearly the automaker was willing to pay anything to get it.