Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation said on Friday it will assume direct control of its wholesale and retail distribution from its licensee Doosan Corporation, in South Korea, beginning January 1, 2011.

Doosan Corporation will continue to operate as a company licensee through December 31, 2010. The company currently distributes Polo Ralph Lauren products through approximately 175 shop-in-shops and five freestanding locations throughout South Korea.

The purchase price will be approximately $47 million, comprised of a cash payment of $25 million for certain assets and an additional payment estimated at $22 million for inventory and various other assets to be determined at closing on December 31, 2010.

“Expanding and elevating our international presence is one of our highest strategic priorities,” said Ralph Lauren, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “South Korea is one of our largest markets, and has always been an important territory for us.”

Said Roger Farah, President and Chief Operating Officer: “Assuming control of South Korea is another important milestone in our broader Asian growth strategy. It is a major piece of the strategy that enables us to directly operate all of Asia with greater consistency across all markets and channels in a manner that is more closely aligned with our global brand positioning and objectives."

He added: "We began the development of our Asian strategy several years ago with the acquisition of Japan in 2007, followed recently by the acquisition of several other important Asian markets in January 2010, including China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. Today, with the announcement of this transaction, we are looking forward to a fully integrated Asian strategy that includes South Korea and leverages the Hong Kong-based leadership, expertise, and infrastructure we have established over the last year in order to optimize the unique opportunities of each country.”