K-pop stocks up as agency behind BTS to become rival’s top shareholder

South Korean girl group aespa at the 2022 KBS Song Festival at Jamsil Arena on December 16, 2022, in Seoul, South Korea.

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The K-pop management company behind BTS will become the largest shareholder of SM Entertainment – the longstanding company known for initiating the wave of popularity surrounding Korean pop culture.

Hybe Co. agreed to buy back 14.8% of the shares held by the founder of SM Entertainment Lee Soo Man in March, according to a submit early Friday morning before the Seoul market opens — and commit in a separate announcement to purchase an additional 25% stake.

That would make Hybe the largest shareholder of SM Entertainment. Lee is currently the top investor in SM Entertainment with an 18.45% stake, according to Refinitiv data, followed by Korea’s National Pension Service, KB Asset Management and Norway’s Norges Bank Investment Management. Latest records show.

The deal is intended to “enhance competitiveness in the K-pop industry and create synergy,” Hybe said in its filing.

Stocks in SM Entertainment spiked on Friday, up more than 16% at the opening in Seoul. Hybe increased by 6% and JYP Entertainment increased by 2.5%, while YG Entertainment increased by 3.8%.

Girl group NewJeans attends The Fact Music Awards 2022 on October 8 in Seoul, South Korea.

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The company is also known for its rising girl group NewJeans — which debuted in Billboard Hot 100 chart with the hit “Ditto” last month within six months of its debut.

SM Entertainment is also the company behind top bands Super Junior, Girls’ Generation and Red Velvet, a group that performed in front of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2018 at the most recent peak of inter-Korean diplomacy. North Korea, along with President Moon Jae-TRO.

Hybe purchased 3.5 million shares of SM Entertainment for 422.8 billion won ($334.2 million) – or 120,000 won per share, with a difference of more than 20% from SM’s closing price. Entertainment was 98,500 won at market close on Thursday.

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That comes after South Korean internet company Kakao announced plans to buy a 9% stake in SM Entertainment in a deal worth 217 billion won. Kakao shares jumped shortly after the announcement on Tuesday earlier this week and last traded 4% lower on Friday.


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