Scooter Braun has sold the entirety of his Ithaca Holdings – including SB Projects and Big Machine Label Group – to South Korea’s HYBE, formerly known as Big Hit Entertainment.
HYBE subsidiary HYBE America has acquired a 100% stake in Ithaca, which to date has been backed with capital from investment giant the Carlyle Group. As a result, Carlyle exits its position in the acquired company.
Consequent to the deal, Braun will join the board of HYBE, while Scott Borchetta will remain CEO of Big Machine Label Group.
UPDATE: A regulatory filing in Korea shows that HYBE has agreed to pay a total of $1.05 billion to shareholders and bondholders to buy Ithaca.
In a media release, HYBE said: “With Ithaca Holdings, HYBE sets an important stepping-stone in expanding into the global market and establishes a global top-tier multi-label structure. Ithaca Holdings’ market and industry expertise will expedite HYBE artists’ entry in the U.S. market and beyond and solidify HYBE’s competitiveness in the global market.”
It confirmed: “[This] deal brings together a range of services including management, label services and publishing for global artists BTS, TXT, SEVENTEEN, NU’EST, GFRIEND, ENHYPEN, ZICO, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, J Balvin, Demi Lovato, Thomas Rhett, Florida Georgia Line, Lady A and more.”
Braun’s management company, SB Projects, represents talent including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, J Balvin and Demi Lovato.
Ithaca Holdings acquired Big Machine Label Group for a figure believed to be in the region of $330 million in 2019. The following year, Ithaca/Big Machine sold the recorded music rights to Taylor Swift’s first six albums to another financial player, Shamrock Capital, for around $300 million.
In addition to Big Machine, Ithaca owns companies such as Atlas Music Publishing, which it acquired in 2019, plus Raised In Space – the music startup accelerator led by Zach Katz and Shara Senderoff.
Announcing HYBE’s acquisition of Ithaca today (April 2), HYBE Chairman & CEO Bang Si-Hyuk commented, “The inevitable joining of HYBE and Ithaca Holdings marks the start of a new adventure no one could have possibly imagined.
“The two companies will work closely together leveraging our proven track records of success, know-how, and expertise to create synergy, transcend borders and break down cultural barriers. Please look forward to the endless possibilities of HYBE and Ithaca Holdings, and the new paradigm the partnership will establish in the music industry.”
“The inevitable joining of HYBE and Ithaca Holdings marks the start of a new adventure no one could have possibly imagined.”
Bang Si-Hyuk, HYBE
Braun added: “This will be the first time HYBE’s groundbreaking systems and curation will be integrated in the U.S. market at the onset of an artist’s career. Plus, it will help us to continue to further the careers of the artists we already work with.
“Global opportunities for artists become exponential with this partnership. This is an opportunity for us to make history and further innovate the music industry and revolutionize the game itself. Its implications for the business will be monumentous for a long time to come. I am incredibly grateful for Chairman Bang’s friendship and his willingness to support the creative journey of an artist.”
“This will be the first time HYBE’s groundbreaking systems and curation will be integrated in the U.S. market at the onset of an artist’s career.”
Allison Kaye, Partner Ithaca Holdings said, “For 15 years, I have worked alongside Scooter helping him build a best-in-class entertainment company and phenomenal team of which we are both immensely proud.
“We have launched amazing careers and brands and released incredible content into the world. We are ecstatic to partner with Chairman Bang and HYBE to further the global reach of both companies and the artists as we continue to grow our company and their careers across entertainment, technology, commerce and content.”
HYBE announced the official changing of its name from Big Hit Entertainment last month.
The company recently announced a partnership with Universal Music Group that will see HYBE and UMG jointly launch a label in the United States.
HYBE (then Big Hit) floated on the Korean stock exchange last year.Music Business Worldwide