The Korean business that gave birth to the K-pop phenomenon BTS is paying $1.05 billion for a star-studded American media empire that handles Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande’s careers.
Big Hit Entertainment, which is rebranding as HYBE, is spending 1.07 trillion won ($950 million) to buy Ithaca Holdings LLC, which music mogul Scooter Braun heads. According to a regulatory filing in Seoul, Big Hit will pay $1.05 billion to shareholders and bondholders to buy Ithaca.
Big Hit Entertainment’s purchase of Ithaca will be its first major venture into the American market. Braun will join the HYBE board of directors, according to a joint statement from the two firms. Carlyle Group will sell its substantial minority stake in Ithaca, which it has owned since 2017, as part of the deal.
Braun praised HYBE’s systems and predicted that the collaboration would open up “exponential” opportunities for new and established Ithaca artists. HYBE Chairman and CEO Bang Si-Hyuk described the deal as an “inevitable joining.”
With BTS’s “Dynamite” topping the Billboard Hot 100 in 2020, Big Hit helped popularize K-pop. Since Kyu Sakamoto retained the top spot on the US music chart for three weeks in 1963, BTS was the first Asian act to reach the top spot.