HYBE has announced it’s acquired a controlling stake in SM Entertainment, the South Korean company that was long considered a rival to the home of BTS and the third largest publicly traded K-pop label in Korea. The purchase of KRW 422.8 billion shares — a 14.8% stake — was reported on Friday and helps strengthen the company’s position as a leader in K-pop.
The announcement comes on the heels of Wednesday’s news that HYBE America had acquired Quality Control (QC Media Holdings, Inc.), the Atlanta-based entertainment company covering music (Lil Baby, Lil Yachty, City Girls and Migos are among its signings), sports, film and television founded in 2013 by CEO Pierre “P” Thomas and COO Kevin “Coach K” Lee. The deal, valued at $320 million in stock and cash, was led by HYBE America CEO Scooter Braun.
The SM move was led by HYBE’s global team, which includes chairman Bang Si-Hyuk, CEO Jiwon Park and Braun and involves acquiring former chief producer Lee Soo-Man’s shares in SM Entertainment — reportedly 18% of the company’s stock. SM is home to such acts as aespa, BoA, TVXQ, Girls Generation, Shinee, EXO, Super Junior and NCT. In Oct. 2022, SM announced that it terminated a contract with Lee Soo-Man a year early.
The deal makes HYBE the single largest shareholder in SM Entertainment and aligns with the company’s mission to build a global entertainment giant rooted in music with interests in other mediums and platforms related to entertainment, lifestyle and culture.
According to the announcement, “Bang Si-Hyuk and former SM Chief Producer Lee mutually agreed on the shared vision for the future of K-pop industry, followed by signing of the stock purchase agreement.”
Said Bang: “HYBE fully agrees with former Chief Producer Lee’s strategic initiatives including metaverse, a multi-label system, and the sustainable vision campaign. … Leveraging our capabilities and resources, HYBE will further strengthen the presence of K-pop in the global stage.”
HYBE’s current market cap stands at $6.6 billion; SM Entertainment’s stands at $1.85 billion.
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