The surge in cross-border acquisitions of Korean businesses, following the 1997 Asian Crisis, raised strong debates about the strategic motivations of foreign investors and the failings of selling firms. This article assesses their impact on the governance, management, and competitiveness of the resulting joint ventures and newly-formed enterprises. Contrary to local perceptions, ‘fire-sales’ and financial opportunism had not motivated foreign buyers, which sought to transform their acquisitions. Nor does government pressure to reform or poor liquidity fully explain the strategies of their Korean counterparts. Through case studies, the article provides insights into the long-term development of governance and management in Korean business.