[Korean actress Jun Ji-hyun]
South Korea’s leading entertainment company CJ E&M Corp. will take over local agency Culture Depot that manages top Korean actresses like Jun Ji-hyun, also known as Gianna Jun, and Park Min-young and actor Jo Jung-suk.
According to investment banks on Wednesday, CJ E&M has recently signed a contract to acquire Culture Depot, at an estimated 35 billion won ($29 million). The company has already purchased 30 percent stakes from Jun and will buy the rest 70 percent stake from CEO Kim Sun-jeong.
Culture Depot started off as an exhibition and performance planning company in 2010 and worked as Jun’s agency from 2012 after she left Sidus. Park Min-young and Jo Jung-suk joined the company later. Park Ji-eun, who wrote the script for blockbuster TV dramas such as My Love from the Star and The Producers, signed an exclusive contract with the company last month. The company is estimated to have recorded revenue of between 35 billion won and 40 billion won in 2015.
CJ E&M has been aggressive in strengthening its dominance in the entertainment industry by courting music artists and taking over drama production company Hwa & Dam Pictures that produced hit dramas like Secret Garden, A Gentleman’s Dignity and The Heirs.
The company is expected to accelerate its global campaign now with Jun under its arm. Its film revenue from overseas rose to 50.4 billion won by the third quarter of 2015, up sharply from 25 billion won in 2014 thanks to popularity of Korean movies in China.
The Chinese cinema market has surged with expansion of multiplex theaters, increased choices and online ticketing. According to Yuanta Securities Korea Co., a Chinese would watch 2.8 movies a year on average by 2020, compared with 0.9 in 2015.
Shares of CJ E&M rose 0.4% to 82,900 won as of 1:31 p.m. on Thursday in Seoul trading.
By Kang Doo-soon, Kim Hye-soon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]