HYBE Focuses On US Market After Withdrawing Bid On SM Entertainment

HYBE Focuses On US Market After Withdrawing Bid On SM Entertainment

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Korea’s HYBE, which manages K-pop group BTS, said it plans a series of acquisitions and investments in the US entertainment market this year, after pulling out of a bitter battle with the internet giant Kakao to take control of rival agency SM Entertainment.

HYBE Founder and Chairman Bang Si-hyuk said the company would announce “a substantial number of acquisitions and investments this year as part of our efforts to expand our presence in the United States.”

Bang also said recently that the K-pop industry is losing the growth momentum it enjoyed during the pandemic and that major players would need to expand and diversify to survive. Part of this slowdown is attributed to the fact that BTS is currently on hiatus as a group. “Without BTS, the market size shrinks significantly,” Bang said.

HYBE already owns Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings, which manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, through its subsidiary HYBE America following a $1 billion merger announced in April 2021.

HYBE announced on March 12 that it was withdrawing from its takeover bid for SM Entertainment after “observing that the market was showing signs of overheating due to competition with Kakao and Kakao Entertainment”, which it said , would have a negative impact on the shareholder. value.

A few days earlier, Kakao made an offer close to $1 billion to acquire up to 35% of SM Entertainment and prevent HYBE from taking over.

HYBE, which owns a 14.8% stake in SM Entertainment after acquiring shares held by former chief producer Lee Soo Man, now says it has held talks with SM and Kakao and “agreed to cooperate on matters related to their platforms.

SM Entertainment manages major K-pop groups including Super M, BoA, Girls’ Generation, Super Junior and NCT Dream.

Kakao is now likely to become the company’s largest shareholder after pursuing plans to buy its shares until March 26.

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