BTS label Big Hit Entertainment files for IPO in South Korea

Warner Music Group is not the only prominent global music company going public right now.

Seoul-based Big Hit Entertainment, the company behind superstar K-Pop group BTS (pictured), has reportedly filed for an IPO in South Korea.

That’s according to Bloomberg, whose report followed several other reports published in the past 24 hours stating that the company had applied for a pre-IPO review with the Korea Exchange on May 21.

As explained by Korean news site Pulse, local rules in the country stipulate that firms looking to file for an IPO are required to enter into a consultation process to discuss the finer details of the filing, with the review process usually taking around a week.

Neither the size nor timeline of the IPO have been revealed at this stage, reports Bloomberg, which cites The Korea Economic Daily as reporting that “the deal could give Big Hit a market capitalization of as much as 2 trillion won ($1.6 billion)”.

Last Tuesday (May 19) The Korea Economic Daily, reported that Big Hit “is aiming to complete its IPO before the BTS’ seven boys begin mandatory military service”.

BTS member Jin – the oldest of the seven, at 27 – “is expected to join the army in December when he turns 28” so the firm is planning to complete an IPO before the end of the year, according to The Korea Economic Daily, which added that Big Hit is estimated to raise more than 1 trillion won ($810 million) through the IPO.

The news of the filing follows reports in February that Big Hit had chosen the underwriters for an IPO this year, with the aim of raising nearly $1 billion.

According to the Financial Times, citing bankers familiar with the situation, the company chose JPMorgan, NH Investment & Securities, and Korea Investment & Securities, while Mirae Asset was picked as a joint manager.

At the time, the FT’s sources also said that Big Hit’s total valuation could be as high as Won 6tn ($5bn).

In 2019, Big Hit’s revenue doubled from the previous year to $494.6 million and reached annual operating profits of $82m.

On February 4, at the ‘Big Hit Corporate Briefing with the Community’ in Seoul, the company unveiled business expansion initiatives for 2020 and revealed various successes across concerts and IP last year.

Big Hit Entertainment recently acquired a stake in Seoul-based K-Pop label Pledis Entertainment and is now the company’s largest shareholder.

The acquisition of the stake in the firm, which is home to K-Pop groups such as NU’EST and Seventeen, comes less than a year after Big Hit’s acquisition of Source Music and Seoul-based music game company, Superb.Music Business Worldwide

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