Billion-dollar tussle for control of K-Pop

Billion-dollar tussle for control of K-Pop industry ends

by Niresh Eliatamby 12-03-2023 | 4:47 PM

Colombo (News 1st) - The billion-dollar battle for control of the K-Pop industry appears to have ended as HYBE announced that it was ending its bid to buy a large stake in SM Entertainment, the largest agency in K-Pop, which internet giant Kakao has made a massive counteroffer that is clearly more successful.
Last week Kakao made a $962 million bid to gain majority shareholding control of SM Entertainment, in an attempt to outbid an offer from HYBE, which owns the largest band BTS.
SM Entertainment represents many top bands such as Girls Generation, EXO, BoA and NCT 127.
Kakao made a bid to purchase a 35% share of SM Entertainment, which when added to the 5% it already owns would give it a 40% stake. Kakao made the bid public in a regulatory filing of documents, saying it would offer $115 per share to existing shareholders.
That would be significantly higher than the $92 per share offer made to SM Entertainment’s shareholders by HYBE, another agency which is currently SM Entertainment’s largest shareholder.
HYBE owns a 15.8% stake in SM Entertainments and was seeking to increase this by 25% to a total of 40%. But the offer was largely rejected by shareholders and it was able to purchase less than 1%, to add to its previous shareholding of 14.8%.
SM Entertainment was founded by legendary music producer Lee Soo-man in 1995, revered as ‘Godfather of K-Pop’, who last month sold much of his shareholding to HYBE for a price of $334.5 million, but continues to hold 3.65%.
However, there are clear divisions within the Board of Directors of SM Entertainment with regard to who should be given control, with Lee favouring HYBE and others supporting a possible sale to Kakao.
Kakao owns two hugely successful internet platforms – the messaging service Kakao Talk, and Melon which is a Korean version of Spotify.