Bang Si-hyuk, the producer behind hugely popular boy band BTS, appears to have cut his stake in Big Hit Entertainment, the company’s regulatory filings showed on March 26.
The co-CEO of Big Hit originally held 50.88 percent stake in the firm, but latest regulatory data showed that it has fallen to 43.06 percent. Shares held by Choi Yoo-jung, vice president of Big Hit, also decreased by 2.39 percentage point from 6.97 percent.
Some speculate that Bang has secured some 65 billion won ($574 million) by selling part of his stake. The agency declined to confirm the sale or value of the stake.
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Industry sources say the change in Bang’s stake and other executives is part of a series of investments the company secured last year.
In April 2018, Big Hit secured investment of 201.4 billion won from mobile game giant Netmarble at a valuation of 800 billion won. Six months later, the entertainment company received 104 billion won funds from venture capital firm STIC Investment, this time at a valuation of 870 billion won.
Source: Big Hit Entertainment's financial statement
While Bang continues to the largest shareholder, Netmarble, led by his cousin Bang Jun-hyuk, has became the second-biggest shareholder with a 25.22 percent stake. STIC holds 12.25 percent.
Backed by the worldwide popularity of the seven-member boy band BTS, Big Hit logged record sales of 214.2 billion won and a net profit of 50.2 billion won last year, jumping 132 percent and 105 percent, respectively, from 2017. Investors of the entertainment company expected a further increase in the valuation of Big Hit. Some critics, however, say it relies too heavily on BTS.
Founded in 2005, Big Hit is trying to diversify its portfolio by setting up Belief Lab, a global audition to seek the next superstars, and introducing new musicians such as five-member boy band Tomorrow X Together.
By Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)