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BTS' label becomes Korea's largest entertainment company in strong market debut

Big Hit founder becomes 8th-richest person with stocks valued at W3.2tr, ahead of Hyundai Motor chief

An electric board at the Korea Exchange showing Big Hit Entertainment’s market debut on the nation's main bourse Kospi Thursday. (Korea Exchange)
An electric board at the Korea Exchange showing Big Hit Entertainment’s market debut on the nation's main bourse Kospi Thursday. (Korea Exchange)
Shares of Big Hit Entertainment, the management agency of K-pop sensation BTS, nearly doubled as the company made a strong market debut on South Korea’s main bourse, Kospi, Thursday, becoming the biggest entertainment company by market capitalization here.

With the opening price set at 270,000 won ($235.80) per share, twice the offering price, Big Hit shares spiked by the daily permissible limit of 30 percent to 351,000 won soon after the bell rang.

But the stock closed at 258,000 won, down 12,000 won, or 4.44 percent from its opening price, keeping its value nearly 200 percent higher than the IPO price. On its debut day, the market value of the company surpassed 8.73 trillion won, making its stock the Kospi market’s 33rd most valuable.

Big Hit’s market cap far outpaced the combined market cap of around 2.78 trillion won of the three major local entertainment agencies -- JYP Entertainment, YG Entertainment and S.M. Entertainment -- solidifying its position as No. 1 in the nation’s emerging segment on its first day of trading.

Korea Exchange CEO Jung Ji-won (right) and Big Hit Entertainment CEO Bang Si-hyuk pose at the management agency’s listing ceremony held at the KRX headquarters in Seoul on Thursday. (Korea Exchange)
Korea Exchange CEO Jung Ji-won (right) and Big Hit Entertainment CEO Bang Si-hyuk pose at the management agency’s listing ceremony held at the KRX headquarters in Seoul on Thursday. (Korea Exchange)
The founder and creator of Big Hit, Bang Si-hyuk, became the eighth-richest stockholder in the country, pushing past Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun, market data showed.

The music producer holds 12.37 million shares, or a 36.6 percent stake in the entertainment company, valued at some 3.19 trillion won.

According to data compiled by Chaebol.com, Hyundai’s Chung’s shares were valued at nearly 3.16 trillion won as of the Thursday session’s close.

Along with Bang, each BTS member’s stock value also spiked to around 17.6 billion won, putting them in the billionaire club.

Bang gave the seven band members a total of 478,695 shares in August, with each musician getting the same amount.

As one of the three big IPO deals in the country this year -- along with SK Biopharmaceuticals and Kakao Games -- both market watchers and investors paid keen interest to whether Big Hit’s share price would remain within the daily permissible limit.

While the biopharmaceutical blue chip’s stock hit the daily permissible limit of 30 percent for three consecutive sessions in July, the mobile game giant’s share price reached the limit for two days last month.

The number of Big Hit stocks available on the market was greater than the corresponding numbers for SK Biopharma and Kakao Games, experts say. Some also forecast that the firm’s stock price is likely to experience volatility for a while.

“Among 35.62 million common shares, 9.95 million shares, or 28 percent of the total was tradable on the first day of (Big Hit’s) trading. Compared to other big-sized IPOs, the proportion was quite higher,” said Kim Hyun-yong, an analyst at Hyundai Motor Securities.

“There were quite a number of big-sized IPOs recently, but they did not meet investors’ expectations. The result also came as reflecting (investors’) excessive expectations of Big Hit Entertainment,” Ahn Jin-ah, an analyst at eBEST Investment & Securities, said. “After fulfilling safeguard deposit after a month, 35 percent of its total shares will become tradable. The firm still carries on its stock price’s variability.”

To celebrate the big day, Bang attended the company’s IPO ceremony at the KRX headquarters in Seoul. The BTS members, however, were not present at the ceremony.

The event marked the first official IPO celebration in nearly three months, since SK Biopharmaceuticals’ listing ceremony in early July, as the government eased nationwide quarantine measures to their lowest level on Sunday.

But since only a limited number of people were allowed to participate amid the ongoing COVID-19 situation, it was livestreamed at 9 a.m. via YouTube.

“As a listed firm, we now have a sense of responsibility for our shareholders and society,” Bang said. “We’ll put our best efforts to uphold individual stockholder’s value in various terms by raising transparency, profitability and growth potentials and contributing to society.”

While highlighting that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the firm’s establishment, the chief also vowed to move forward to make Big Hit the world’s best entertainment and lifestyle platform company, along with establishing an innovative structure for the industry.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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