Big Hit Entertainment, the talent agency behind the hugely popular Korean pop boy band, received preliminary approval this month to list on the country’s stock market.
The company is run by CEO Bang Si-Hyuk, a longtime music producer who is credited with creating BTS and setting it on the road to stardom in 2013. Bang is the major shareholder of Big Hit, with about 43% of the company’s stock, according to a stock exchange filing.
In a statement, the exchange confirmed that the firm had met its listing requirements and could move forward with its market debut. The move would give retail investors a chance to get in on the action around the seven-member group, whose breakout success has been compared with that of the Beatles.
The band’s success has helped Big Hit carve out a lucrative empire.
Big bucks from BTS
Last year, the company said it brought in about 587.2 billion won ($496 million) in revenue, and 98.7 billion won ($83 million) in operating profit.
While BTS is its biggest act, it’s not the only earnings driver. Big Hit also manages singer Lee Hyun and Tomorrow x Together, another South Korean boy band.
Big Hit declined to share details about its IPO and did not respond to a request for comment about its valuation.
The company has recently found ways to overcome some of the financial challenges spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, which has wiped out concert and event schedules around the world.
Bang noted that the company was helped by “not only album and music sales,” but also by holding online concerts that fans can watch from home and selling branded merchandise.
“Various areas drove profit,” he said.
— CNN’s Julia Hollingsworth contributed to this report.