Valuation of South Korea’s entertainment agency Big Hit Entertainment has soared after its boy band BTS achieved another milestone of topping the Billboard 200 with its third full album, raising its status to a $1 billion blockbuster initial public offering (IPO) candidate.
Bang Si-hyuk, chief executive of Big Hit, late last year indicated an IPO would take place and named a chief financial officer to prepare for the procedure.
Market watchers expect BTS’s feat in the United States may accelerate the IPO schedule. The company was expected to file for an IPO review in the second half.
Investors snatched up shares in Netmarble, the country’s leading game developer who bought a 25.71 percent stake in Big Hit to become the company’s second-largest shareholder last month. Before the BTS’s hit with the third full album, Big Hit’s worth was estimated at around 800 billion won.
Shares of Netmarble finished 4.29 percent higher at 158,000 won ($146.73) on Tuesday.
The 2005-founded agency recorded its best-ever operation profit of 32.5 billion won last year, up 214 percent from the previous year due largely to the 15.2 billion won income from BTS tours. It, in fact, earned more than the three household entertainment names SM, YG, and JYP last year.
On Sunday (local time), BTS topped the U.S. Billboard 200 chart with its ‘Love Yourself: Tear’ album, becoming the first K-pop act to take the No.1 spot on the all-genre chart.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on album sales, track equivalent albums and streaming equivalent albums.
The Love Yourself: Tear album of BTS is also the first album performed predominantly in a language other than English to lead the chart in 12 years. In 2006, the four-member male group Il Divo’s ‘Ancora’ sung in Spanish, Italian and French topped the list.
The album released on May 18 also became the first world music genre album to hit the top spot of the Billboard 200. The world’s most famous music chart categorizes music created in countries other than the U.S. as world music.
“It’s a big week for K-pop, as Korean boy band BTS debuts at No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart with Love Yourself: Tear - the first chart-topper for the K-pop genre,” said Billboard. The second highest-charted K-pop album on the chart is also BTS’s ‘Love Yourself: Her’ that peaked at No.7 in October 2017.
The seven-member male group recently told reporters in a press conference in Seoul that they wish to top the Billboard Hot 100 main singles chart where another K-pop artist Psy stayed at the No.2 spot for two consecutive weeks with ‘Gangnam Style’ in 2012. “We also want to hit the Grammys, go on a stadium tour and become one of the most influential artists in the world,” they said.
By Kim Yeon-joo and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]