K-pop band BTS scores investor hit with £3.2bn IPO for management label

K-pop stars BTS have scored a hit with South Korean investors after a rush of demand for shares in its management label saw the company valued at £3.2bn.

Demand from institutional investors for a stake in Big Hit Entertainment means it will be priced at the top of the expected price range in an initial public offering (IPO) next month.

The offer saw demand 1,000 times higher than the number of shares available – in what is South Korea’s biggest IPO in three years.

BTS on stage at Wembley stadium.

2019: K-pop megastars perform at Wembley

It will make millions for the band’s seven members, who were each given 68,385 shares in the company by chief executive Bang Si-hyuk in August.

A regulatory filing on Monday showing strong demand means shares have now been priced at 135,000 won (£90) each, the top of a range announced earlier this month.

Further demand is expected to come from retail investors including fanatical BTS fans desperate to secure a stake.

The IPO will see 7.13 million new shares in Big Hit sold, raising 963 billion won (£638m) and valuing the whole of the company at 4.8trn won (£3.2bn).

Park Sung-ho, analyst at Yuanta Securities, said Big Hit was “classified as a kind of global export firm” with proven ability to use YouTube and social media for “smart market infiltration” as well as its own fan platform Weverse giving it “unprecedented clarity and control over its revenue sources”.

In August, the company reported a 49.7 billion won (£33m) profit for the first half of 2020 as online concert and merchandise sales more than offset the impact of event cancellations in the US, Europe and Asia during the pandemic.

K-pop band BTS

756,000 people paid to watch a BTS concert online in June

The company said 756,000 people globally paid to watch the group perform an online concert in June, an audience size equal to about 15 stadium concerts.

Big Hit also sells merchandise such as illustrated books of lyrics, textbooks and games and licensing including products sold by companies such as Starbucks and Samsung.

It bought two K-pop labels and established a third as a joint venture since last year, addressing market concerns that it needs to diversify its revenue streams beyond BTS.

Last year, BTS became the first group since the Beatles to score three number one albums in a year on the Billboard 200 charts.

The band’s biggest hit, Dynamite, this year made them the first South Korean band to reach number one in America’s Hot 100 singles chart.

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