April 5, 2021
The Korean company that launched K-pop sensation BTS is paying $1.05 billion for a star-studded U.S. media group that has advanced the careers of global songsters Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, reports Bloomberg.
Big Hit Entertainment, which is changing its name to HYBE, is investing ₩1.07 trillion (US$950 million) into its U.S. unit to acquire founder and producer Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings . Big Hit will pay a total of $1.05 billion to shareholders and bondholders to purchase Ithaca, according to a regulatory filing in Seoul on April 2.
The acquisition of Ithaca would be the first major foray into the U.S. market for Big Hit Entertainment, Bloomberg notes. Braun, currently Ithaca’s CEO, will join the board of HYBE, the companies said in a statement. As part of the transaction, Carlyle Group will sell its significant minority stake in Ithaca, which it has held since 2017.
Braun hailed HYBE’s systems and said the tie-up would create “exponential” opportunities for new and existing Ithaca artists. HYBE Chairman and CEO Bang Si-Hyuk called the deal an “inevitable joining.”
According to Variety, in aligning the two entities, the newly combined HYBE is poised to be among the biggest entertainment companies with a music focus operating on a global scale. BTS and Bieber, alone, bring dedicated fanbases numbering in the hundreds of millions, while Ariana Grande recently surpassed 90 billion streams consumed worldwide, the most ever by a female.
Big Hit helped popularize K-pop, with BTS’s “Dynamite” topping the Billboard Hot 100 in 2020. BTS was the first Asian act to be No. 1 on the U.S. music chart since Kyu Sakamoto held the No. 1 spot for three weeks in 1963.
Research contact: @Bloomberg