Scooter Braun Reportedly Becomes Sole Hybe America CEO As K-Pop’s Global Expansion Continues

Scooter Braun calls Taylor Swift's actions dangerous
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Scooter Braun calls Taylor Swift's actions dangerous
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Photo Credit: TechCrunch / CC by 2.0

Following the approximately $200 million sale of Justin Bieber’s catalog, Scooter Braun has reportedly become Hybe America’s sole CEO.

Upon announcing its massive investment in the 28-year-old’s music IP yesterday, Hipgnosis Song Management (HSM) billed Scooter Braun as the “CEO of Hybe America and Justin Bieber’s manager of 15 years.” Moreover, the text made no mention of Braun’s sharing the title with now-former co-CEO Lenzo Yoon, who signed on with Big Hit/Hybe back in 2010.

And according to reports from outlets including Variety, that’s because Yoon has exited the role altogether. At the time of this writing, the longtime Hybe exec didn’t appear to have publicly addressed the matter, nor had his employer broached the subject with a formal statement.

Additionally, Yoon has yet to update his LinkedIn profile to reflect the development, and the mentioned report doesn’t contain supplemental details about the shake-up. Consequently, it’s unclear precisely what prompted Braun’s title change and whether Yoon will assume a different role within Hybe’s far-reaching operations.

For reference, though, April of 2021 saw Braun (as well as The Carlyle Group, then a minority stakeholder) sell Ithaca Holdings to BTS agency Hybe (KRX: 352820) as part of a roughly $1 billion deal. Besides joining Hybe’s board as the company prepared to form and promote stateside K-pop groups, the Taylor Swift nemesis Braun signed on as co-CEO following the Ithaca sale.

In any event, the news arrives as Hybe continues to pursue an ambitious U.S. expansion. While BTS is on hiatus, the seven-piece act’s members are releasing solo projects, performing at high-profile festivals, and appearing in a number of visual media projects.  

Additionally, the K-pop agency’s Tomorrow X Together group earlier in January announced its second world tour. After kicking off the concert series with shows in Seoul, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan (four stops in the latter nation, each with two dates apiece), TXT is set to perform in North Carolina, New York, Texas, and Georgia, to name some.

Regarding the wider K-pop sphere’s global buildout, it bears noting in conclusion that Kakao Entertainment – the company behind Monsta X, The Boyz, and many others – initiated 2023 by announcing that it had raised about $1 billion from “leading sovereign wealth funds.”

“Kakao Entertainment aims to spearhead growth in K-culture worldwide and propel Kakao Group’s overarching vision of expanding to markets beyond Korea,” execs emphasized upon revealing the sizable raise.

When trading concluded today, shares in the broader Kakao Corporation (KRX: 035720), in which Tencent has an interest, were worth ₩62,600 (currently $50.78) apiece, compared to ₩186,600 ($151.35) apiece for Hybe shares.