BTS agency Big Hit Entertainment is reportedly preparing to invest $63.21 million (70 billion South Korean won) in Seoul-headquartered K-pop agency YG Entertainment.
As part of this multimillion-dollar investment, Big Hit Entertainment will front approximately $27.09 million (₩30 billion) in the 24-year-old YG Entertainment’s YG Plus subsidiary, while Big Hit’s beNX tech subsidiary will provide the remaining $36.12 million (₩40 billion) or so, according to a report from the Yonhap News Agency. BeNX created and maintains Big Hit’s WeVerse artist-to-fan social platform.
YG Plus, for its part, operates Naver Corporation’s Vibe music streaming service, an artist-merch business, a “global cosmetics company,” a digital-marketing and advertising firm, an investment business, and even a “golf entertainment company,” among several other divisions. (As an aside, Tencent has a roughly 4.4 percent stake in YG Entertainment itself – besides a third of India’s largest streaming service, a fifth of Universal Music Group, and about 1.6 percent of Warner Music Group.)
Seongnam-headquartered Naver Corporation, the entity behind the namesake South Korean search engine, owns about nine percent of the overarching YG Entertainment (traded as 122870 on the Korea Exchange’s KOSDAQ) and made a staggering $371 million (₩410 billion) investment in beNX today, January 27th, according to reports. (South Korean news outlets are reporting varying amounts for the multimillion-dollar investment, however.)
Post-transaction, Naver will own a 49 percent interest in beNX, and the former company intends to transfer its V Live livestreaming platform to beNX, which will then be renamed WeVerse Company. Needless to say, given BTS’s substantial reach as well as the growing popularity of K-pop itself, there’s a considerable upside associated with bringing livestreaming technology and a music-streaming service to the already-popular WeVerse. (Specifically on the livestream front, BTS’s pay-per-view concerts have attracted a record number of fans.)
YG Entertainment stock dipped slightly on the day, to about $45.51 (₩50,400) per share, as did Naver Corp stock (symbol 035420), to approximately $308.37 (₩341,500) per share. YG Plus is listed separately from YG Entertainment (as 037270) and finished at $6.82 per share (₩7,550). Also worth noting is that the KOSDAQ on Monday topped 1,000 for the first time since September of 2000.
And Big Hit Entertainment, which made its long-awaited stock-market debut back in October, boasted a per-share price of $187.29 (₩207,500) when the market closed. The BTS agency, which recorded all-time-high revenues and profits during 2019, quietly became majority owner of Pledis Entertainment in May of 2020. That same month, BTS producer and Big Hit cofounder Bang Si-Hyuk announced his involvement in a new South Korean reality show, I-Land.
BTS will release the “essential edition” of Be, which initially became available in November, on February 19th. At the time of publishing, the $27.99 album was the bestselling “CDs and Vinyl” product on Amazon U.S.