|SM Entertainment CEO Lee Soo-man (Korea Herald file photo)|
Much thanks to the monster worldwide success of local rap star Psy with his record-shattering hit single “Gangnam Style,” YG Entertainment finally overtook long-time reigning rival SM Entertainment as the nation’s most profitable talent agency. However, now that the craze of Psy’s first global hit has faded, YG CEO Yang Hyun-suk finds himself trailing behind SM once again.
Earlier in September it was announced that Yang, a former member of iconic idol group Seotaiji and the Boys and current head of YG, was the nation’s wealthiest celebrity stockholder. But according to new data published by the market research site Chaebul.com on Tuesday, SM CEO Lee Soo-man has reclaimed his spot at the top. SM has long been one of the highest-ranking entertainment agencies in Korea with internationally popular K-pop acts such as Girls’ Generation, SHINee, TVXQ and Super Junior.
Although the reports showed that Lee has stocks worth an estimated 187 billion won ($168 million), which is actually a 4.3 percent decrease from his net worth at the beginning of the year, Yang has suffered an even greater loss this year. During the global surge of “Gangnam Style,” Yang’s stock value had rocketed to more than 200 billion won, launching him far ahead of his competitors. Despite his big-name artists such as K-pop idol groups Big Bang and 2NE1 remaining active in the music scene, it appears that the lull of Psy’s promotional activities has led Yang’s stocks to drop in value by nearly 22 percent with stock holdings at around 174 billion won.
Park Jin-young, CEO of JYP Entertainment, has moved up one spot from his previous ranking this year to the No. 3 spot with his stocks valuing at around 24.6 billion won. Although far behind the likes of YG and SM, Park saw an increase of more 17 billion won after making the decision this year to merge JYPE with JYP Corporation, which included popular acts such as Miss A.
Actor and founder of KeyEast Co. Bae Yong-joon ― famous for his roles in popular Korean dramas “Winter Sonata” and “The Legend” ― has dropped one spot to the No. 4 ranking with his company’s stocks valued at 23.8 billion won, a nearly 7 billion won drop since September.
By Julie Jackson