BTS Members Receive $15 Million Each from Big Hit's Soaring IPO

Korean boy band BTS pose in Nagoya Japan

Big Hit shares opened at 270,000 won, valuing the company at about 9.6 trillion won ($8.38 billion), compared with an IPO price of 135,000 won per share last month.

Big Hit Entertainment Co.'s entry to the Korea Exchange had attracted strong interest from institutional investors following the company's meteoric rise on the back of the seven-member band's worldwide popularity.

The management label saw larger operating profits past year than the three major companies that have dominated South Korea's entertainment industry combined.

While the law grants military service exemptions or deferrals to successful global athletes and classical musicians for their contribution to South Korea's image overseas, but the measure has never been applied to pop singers and celebrities, according to the Yonhap news agency. The company has already made this transition, and economic and investment analysts have shared how the change turned out.

But concerns continue about Big Hit's reliance on its star artists, which makes revenue especially vulnerable to any disruptions in output from key talent.

Big Hit's stock market debut came just days after Chinese nationalists erupted in anger at BTS after its leader, RM, thanked Korean War veterans for their sacrifices while receiving a reward for promoting US-South Korea relations.

Unlike many other K-pop artists whose carefully cultivated images are shaped by their management agencies, BTS members actively engage with their fans through social media and often write their own lyrics. BTS-related social media posts from main manufacturers resembling Hyundai, Samsung and Fila disappeared from Chinese language e-commerce platforms amid the flap.

The boy band became the first K-pop act to top the Billboard album charts in 2018 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with its song "Dynamite" in September 2020.

Bang holds a 34.7 percent stake in the company, worth 3.19 trillion won based on the closing price, making him the eighth-richest stockholder in South Korea, according to data compiled by industry tracker Chaebul.com.

The pipeline looks solid after government stimulus to boost the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic flooded markets with cash, analysts said. Online game developer Krafton, and chat app operator Kakao's mobile banking unit KakaoBank have begun the preliminary process for listing.

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