Business

BTS Label Big Hit Entertainment Doubles Shares in Smash Stock Market Debut

Korea Exchange via Getty Images

Bang Si-hyuk (4th L) founder of Big Hit Entertainment Co., and other attendees at the company's initial public offering ceremony at the Korea Exchange (KRX) on October 15, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. Big Hit Entertainment, the management agency of K-pop superstar BTS, began livestreaming its market debut on South Korea's main bourse Thursday. The Seoul-based entertainment company was listed on the main KOSPI and began trading at 9 a.m., the Korea Exchange said.

Big Hit Entertainment, the label behind BTS, parlayed the K-pop group's global superstardom into a smash debut on the South Korean stock market today (Oct. 15).

The company raised 963 billion won ($840 million) in its initial public offering on the Korea Exchange, making it South Korea's largest IPO in three years. Shares opened at 270,000 won ($236) -- double their IPO price of of 135,000 won ($118) -- and closed at 258,000 won ($225).

Those numbers bring the company's valuation up to 8.7 trillion won ($7.5 billion).

A strong debut was expected by industry analysts given BTS' enormous fanbase, officially termed the BTS ARMY, who are quick to pounce on virtual and physical concert tickets, album collectibles and other extensive merchandise lines. BTS accounted for more than 80% of the company’s revenue during the first half of 2020, according to a report by investment management company Samsung Securities.

The group -- consisting of members J-Hope, RM, Suga, Jungkook, V, Jin and Jiminwhich -- launched in 2013 and has since performed sold-out shows across the world, breaking numerous Billboard chart records in the process. BTS became the first K-pop act to top the Billboard Hot 100 last month with "Dynamite," their first all-English song, and this week occupies the top two slots (with a BTS remix of Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo's "Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat)" at No. 1 and "Dynamite" at No. 2).

The IPO makes a billionaire out of Big Hit founder and co-CEO Bang Si-hyuk, who owns just under 35% of the company, according to Forbes, which estimates Si-Hyuk's net worth at $3.2 billion. According to an earlier regulatory filing, Bang gave each of the seven BTS members more than 68,000 shares in August, easily making each member a multi-millionaire at the closing price.