Business

BTS Label Big Hit Valued at $4 Billion After Pricing IPO at Top of Range

BTS photographed on Jan. 19, 2018 at Korea House in Seoul.
Peter Ash Lee

From left: V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook, RM, Jimin and J-Hope of BTS photographed Jan. 19 at Korea House in Seoul. Styling by Lee Ha Jung. V, Suga and J-Hope wear Saint Laurent tops and jackets. Jin wears a COS top and Saint Laurent jacket and shoes. Jungkook wears a COS top, Saint Laurent jacket and Prada shoes. RM wears a Saint Laurent jacket and shoes. Jimin wears a Saint Laurent top, jacket and shoes. 

The offering makes the label's co-CEO a billionaire and each BTS member a multimillionaire.

Big Hit Entertainment, the label behind K-pop superstars BTS, has priced its initial public offering (IPO) at the top of its target range, on track for its goal to go public by the end of the year.

The K-pop powerhouse is issuing shares at 135,000 won ($115) each, the company said in a filing with the Korean Exchange on Monday (Sept. 28), the top end of the 105,000 to 135,000 won per share range the company previously announced. Big Hit will raise 962.6 billion won (roughly $820 million) through the offering, which values the company at 4.8 trillion won ($4.1 billion).

Co-CEO Bang Si-Hyuk, a former songwriter and music producer who founded Big Hit in 2005, owns about 43% of the company, according to the stock exchange filing, making him a billionaire. Through the offering, each of the seven members of BTS are now multimillionaires -- Si-Hyuk gave each member 68,385 shares, according to an earlier filing, and those holdings are now worth nearly $7.9 million each at the issue price.

Shares begin trading on Oct. 15, and investors -- as well as fans -- are lining up. Institutional investors reportedly expressed interest in more than 1,000 times the number of shares on offer, and die-hard members of the massive BTS Army official fan club are also expected to clamor for shares.

Riding on the success of BTS, Big Hit said it generated a record 587.2 billion won (roughly $507.9 million) in revenue last year -- a 95% increase versus 2018's unaudited numbers that the company previously reported. In 2019, it also brought in 98.7 billion won ($85.4 million) in operating profit, a 24% increase on the prior year.

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BTS' first full-English single "Dynamite" debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in August -- making it the first all-South Korean act to hit the summit in the chart's 62-year history -- and the group is set to release its second album of the year, BE (Deluxe Edition), on Nov. 20, following up Map of the Soul: 7.

Big Hit is now expanding its roster with bands like TOMORROW X TOGETHER and Seventeen; and diversifying its business ventures with new projects like the fan community platform Weverse and livestreamed concert experiences like BTS' virtual “Bang Bang Con: The Live” in June.