K-pop behemoth SM Entertainment announced its purchase of Keyeast Entertainment and FNC Add Culture earlier this week, two prominent smaller labels focused primarily on acting and media production, respectively.
On Wednesday, March 14, Korean outlet Yonhap reported that SM, the home of popular K-pop acts including EXO and Red Velvet, revealed through a regulatory filing on the Korean Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (KOSDAQ) that it will purchase a controlling stake of just over 25% in Keyeast from label head Bae Young-joon, a popular actor-turned-businessman. SM reportedly will pay around $47 million, splitting the transaction between cash and stock shares.
Keyeast represents many popular South Korean stars, including actor Kim Soo Hyun, iconic Korean diva Uhm Jung Hwa, and Sohee, formerly of Wonder Girls. The label has faced some difficulties in recent years, due in part to waning interest in Korean content from China due to THAAD as well as multiple legal issues revolving around the singer-actor Kim Hyunjoong, who rose to popularity throughout Asia in the late 2000s due to his work with the boy band SS501 and his role in the hit 2009 TV show Boys Over Flowers.