Scooter Braun becomes the sole CEO of HYBE America, variety He confirmed. He previously shared the co-CEO title with Lenzo Yoon, a veteran of Big Hit (HYBE’s former company name) who joined the South Korean company — home of K-pop sensations BTS — in 2010 as head of strategic planning. At HYBE, Yoon is tasked with “translating K-pop’s business model into the American music industry,” according to the 2021 announcement.
Braun’s Ithaca Holdings merged with HYBE in April 2021 giving the company a 100% stake in Ithaca and its properties, which include SB Projects and management clients Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, among others, as well as Big Machine Label Group. With the merger, Brown joined HYBE’s board of directors and retained the title of CEO of its US business. Bang Si Hyuk, who founded Big Hit in 2005, resigned as CEO in July 2021 and remains Chairman of the Board.
That apparently gave a bigger role to Yoon, who was instrumental in building BTS’ fanbase. Yoon (full name Yoon Seok Joon) became the global CEO in May 2020, before the company launched its IPO on the Seoul stock market. He then became CEO of HYBE America in July 2021. This US role earned him a spot (along with Bang and Braun) on Billboard’s 2022 Global Power list. HYBE did not indicate what role Yoon could have in the future. And he did not respond to her varietyQueries.
The $1 billion Ithaca-HYBE deal resulted in major payouts to Braun employees and customers, including SB Projects chief Allison Kaye, Grande, Bieber and J Balvin. $50 million in Brown’s personal equity has been committed to businesses and employees who have worked with Brown since he started SBP in 2007. Bieber and Grande received $53,557 each — translating to nearly $10 million each — while Balvin received 21, 423 shares. 5,355 is allocated to Demi Lovato. Smaller slices of the pie were handed out to other artists on the label’s roster, such as Carly Rae Jepsen and Asher Roth, as well as producer Andrew Watt, rapper Migos Quavo, producer Tommy Brown, and songwriter Jason “Boo Bear” Boyd, among others. Meanwhile, Kay has acquired 26,778 shares – good for $5 million.
Elsewhere in Brown’s empire, Bieber has just sold his music rights to Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis Songs Capital for $200 million in a deal that includes Bieber’s shares in the publishing and recorded music catalog, and Bieber’s interest in his copyright (including the writer from the performance) and the recordings. Master and related rights to his entire back catalog, which includes over 290 titles released before December 31, 2021.
Although BTS is HYBE’s primary client, the company and its subsidiaries are also home to popular K-pop acts Tomorrow x Together, Enhypen, Seventeen, and more. HYBE also recently launched a K-pop girl group in May 2022, Le Sserafim, in partnership with Source Music. With the October release of their second EP, “Antifragile,” the group became the fastest female K-pop artist to debut on the Billboard 200.
HYBE increased its revenue growth in 2022, bringing in more than $1 billion, which puts it in the ranking of small-cap companies. So far this year, its stock is up 10%, though it’s down 31% from its performance over the past year. As of January, HYBE’s market capitalization was $6.25 billion, although it was down from a high of $12.1 billion at the end of 2021.
When BTS announced its “discontinuation” in June 2022, HYBE stock fell 28%, which equates to a $1.7 billion drop in market cap. However, HYBE quickly issued a statement retracting the word “hiatus”, claiming that the word was mistranslated in the group’s Korean-language advertisement. BTS is not stopping. The members will be focusing more on individual projects at this time.
This has proven to be true, as members RM and J-Hope have both released solo projects since the announcement. Big Hit Music said in a statement that the group is also scheduled to perform military service and will therefore be temporarily inactive but is “looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their commitment to service.”
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