BTS Agency Big Hit Entertainment Moves Closer to IPO

Big Hit Entertainment, the agency behind Korean pop sensation BTS, has moved a significant step closer to achieving a share listing.

Regulator and stock market operator, Korea Exchange said Friday that it had given preliminary approval to BHE for an initial public offering or IPO. Having received BHE’s first application on May 28, Korea Exchange said that BHE “fulfils the requirements to go public.”

Having passed the first screening, a company is now expected to file a securities registration statement with the Financial Services Commission within the next six months.

Reuters has previously reported that JP Morgan, NH Investment & Securities, and Korea Investment & Securities have signed on as underwriters to the planned share offering. The company itself has confirmed no details of the date, structure, or size of the share sale.

In May, BHE revealed some details of its financial performance as a private company. It said that it made $85.4 million of operating profits from revenues of $508 million in 2019. Those were increases of 24% and 95%, respectively.

“Big Hit pushed for optimizing its corporate structure in 2019 by transitioning into a multi-label system, while simultaneously sustaining explosive revenue expansion and high growth rate,” the company said in a statement. “BTS is making unprecedented achievements as Korean artists, and both Tomorrow X Together and Gfriend are continuing their growth. Big Hit has also secured an impressive pipeline of trainees.

BHE saw a total record of 6 million in album sales in 2019, which included 3.72 million copies of BTS’ “Map of the Soul: Persona” and the album sales by Tomorrow X Together.

The past year has shown how the company might use a share listing to allow further expansion. Proclaiming a multi-label strategy, BHE has acquired label Source Music and game company Superb Corp. and, most recently, acquired a majority stake in music label Pledis, which includes bands Nu’Est and Seventeen under its umbrella.

Putting itself in shape for the IPO, BHE also announced a restructuring of its senior management in May. That saw founder Bang Si-Hyuk re-designated as chairman and CEO, Lenzo Yoon appointed as Global CEO (CEO, Global & Business) and Park Jiwon named as HQ CEO (CEO, HQ & Management).

At present the company’s largest shareholders are understood to be Bang and Korean gaming giant Netmarble, which in turn is headed by Bang’s cousin Bang Jun-Hyuk.

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