Hybe founder ‘satisfied’ on decision to end SM Entertainment feud with Kakao

2023.03.16 10:05:01 | 2023.03.16 10:05:29

Bang Si-hyuk, the founder and chairman of Hybe, addressing in a forum hosted by the Kwanhun Club, an association of senior journalists, in central Seoul on Wed. [Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]이미지 확대

Bang Si-hyuk, the founder and chairman of Hybe, addressing in a forum hosted by the Kwanhun Club, an association of senior journalists, in central Seoul on Wed. [Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]



Bang Si-hyuk, the founder and chairman of Hybe Co., is “very much satisfied” with the recent decision to not take control of SM Entertainment Co. and instead seek partnership with platform giant Kakao Corp. for synergies.

“I am very satisfied, personally,” Bang said Wednesday, in a forum hosted by the Kwanhun Club, an association of senior journalists, in central Seoul. Bang, however, did not go into details about Hybe’s partnership with Kakao, such as having SM Entertainment artists on its fandom platform Weverse, saying that he can’t say more on the issue.

The agency will also make a “rational decision” about the 15.78 percent stake it holds in SM Entertainment.

Bang’s remarks come days after Hybe withdrew its takeover bid for control of SM Entertainment in a meeting with Kakao, which has been continuing to increase its stake in label that includes groups such as Super Junior and NCT.

Bang noted that the acquisition of SM Entertainment, both for Hybe and Kakao, began with a goal to “create a better environment and future” for the content and entertainment industries but the actual process “did not consider the artists and fans” as it involved some tit-for-tat moves.

Bang noted how Hybe, from 2019, has been engaged in a roadmap to become a global entertainment company. The agency, which is behind global superstar BTS, will focus on expanding in size to get a foothold in the main U.S. market.

Hybe is expected to acquire more foreign labels, on top of the K-pop labels Big Hit, Pledis and ADOR, as well as U.S. country music label Big Machine, Justin Bieber’s agency Ithaca Holdingsand hip hop label Media Holdings.

Bang, in particular, is eyeing on popular labels in the Latin music industry that grew in size based on the population in the global market, high musical quality its musicality and the U.S. management companies with popular producers.

“Our first goal is to have a strong presence,” Bang said. “There will be more announcements on acquisitions and investments in companies than expected this year.”

Bang, in the meantime, said that in the Korean music industry needs to continue to grow their influence overseas, saying that he doesn’t want the value and energy of the K-pop industry to be thought later as simply “memories” and a “syndrome.”

“K-pop album sales, growt, and music chart share are on a decline in Southeast Asia after BTS began a hiatus and members complete their required military service,” Bang said. “Negative growth is clear.”

It is a pivotal moment now for the appearance of a global entertainment company to make a breakthrough, just like how there is Samsung in the global chip market and Hyundai in the automobile market, according to Bang.

“We shouldn’t be satisfied with what we have achieved but rather have a sense of crisis,” he said.

By Chung Joo-won and Lee Eun-joo

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