IPO of Superstars BTS Parent Proves to be Less Than ‘Dynamite’

Big Hit Entertainment Co.’s IPO isn’t quite the chart-topper investors had expected. The company behind K-pop superstars BTS has raised $830 million in the country’s largest IPO this year. Individual investors, however, took up just 607 times the shares on offer, well below the 1,524 timessubscription on Kakao Games Corp.’s listing last month.

That Big Hit managed to price at the top of theprice range shouldn’t be surprising. BTS, the band behind the hit song “Dynamite,” is one of Korea’s biggest exports, doing well this year even as Covid-19 canceled many of its concerts. An online concert held by the band in June drew in more than 750,000 viewers in the world’s biggest paid online music event, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

BTS fans, nicknamed “the army,” bought into the IPO, Sung Junewon, analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp., said. He expects Big Hit’s 2021 operating profit to double to 264 billion won ($228 million) from this year’s levels. Given its size, Big Hit is likely going to be included in the Kospi 200, an index closely followed by passive funds.

K-Pop Superstars BTS’s Agency Seeks up to $812 Million in IPO

Many institutional investors, who made up 60% of the deal (retail and employees account for 20% each), have complained about the high valuations of the offering. Big Hit’s IPO price values the firm at as much as 50 times its 2020 forecast earnings, according to Hana Financial Investment, compared with 25 times for its peer SM Entertainment Co., Korea’s biggest listed music agency.

To top it off, Big Hit depended on boyband BTS for 97.4% of its 2019 sales. BTS’ seven members are all in their 20s and Korea requires its male citizens between 18 and 28 years old to serve in the military for two years. With BTS’s oldest member, Kim Seok-jin 27 years old, the clock is ticking.

While legislation currently proposed to Korea’s parliament could lead entertainers who have made “great contributions” to Korea’s popular culture to put off joining the military until they are 30, that doesn’t buy the band much time.

Hedge Fund Gains 81% in Slowing Korea by Betting on K-Pop


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    See also:

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    — With assistance by Shinhye Kang, and Yang Brandon Sim

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