BTS Parent Business to Buy Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande Manager’s Company for $1 Billion

By Adriaan Brits Friday, April 2, 2021

Purchase agreement document sitting on a desk.

HYBE, the parent company of the popular K-pop band BTS, is acquiring Ithaca Holdings LLC, the parent company of Atlas Music Publishing, in a business deal worth $1.05 billion.

Expanding to the United States

HYBE, formerly known as Big Hit Entertainment, is paying over $1 billion to acquire Atlas Music, which owns business rights to music performers, such as Brandi Carlile, Andrea Bocelli, Van Halen, and others. Financial terms of this business deal were not disclosed.

This move represents the biggest foreign investment by Big Hit Entertainment, which has one of the world’s most popular bands in BTS. Once the business deal is completed, the current CEO of Ithaca, Scooter Braun, will join the board of the HYBE company. Moreover, Ithaca artists will participate in the capital increase of HYBE as two businesses aim to continue working together in the future.

As a part of the business deal, private equity business the Carlyle Group will sell its minority stake in Ithaca, which it acquired in 2017.

“The two companies will work closely together leveraging our proven track records of success, know-how, and expertise to create synergy, transcend borders and break down cultural barriers. Please look forward to the endless possibilities of HYBE and Ithaca Holdings, and the new paradigm the partnership will establish in the music industry,” said HYBE chairman and CEO Bang Si-Hyuk.

Ithaca Holdings owns multiple companies, such as SB Projects, founded by Scooter Braun. Moreover, the company also manages careers of big name clients, namely Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato.

In 2019, Ithaca acquired Big Machine Label Group for over $300 million. Big Machine Label Group holds business rights to Taylor Swift’s music catalog, which was estimated to be worth about $140 million at that time. Braun sold the master rights to Taylor Swift’s first six albums for over $300 million to an unnamed private investment fund.

The HYBE-Ithaca business deal includes agreements on the management, label services, and publishing rights for BTS, TXT, SEVENTEEN, as well as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and others.

“Global opportunities for artists become exponential with this partnership. This is an opportunity for us to make history and further innovate the music industry and revolutionize the game itself. Its implications for the business will be monumental for a long time to come. I am incredibly grateful for Chairman Bang’s friendship and his willingness to support the creative journey of an artist,” Braun said in a statement.

Big Hit Entertainment changed its name to HYBE recently as a part of the rebranding campaign to expand its portfolio besides mere artist management. The South Korean company, whose revenues are vastly dependent on BTSE, is aiming to become one of the largest Asian companies in the lifestyle and entertainment sectors.

The company went public in October of last year to mark the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in South Korea in the past three years. About six months after the IPO, HYBE stock price trades over 50% higher compared to the marketed IPO price to give the company a business valuation of $6.4 billion. The BTS brand itself is estimated to be worth billions of dollars.

Summary

HYBE, home to popular group BTS, is spending over $1 billion to acquire US-based company Ithaca, which manages the careers of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and others.

About the Author


Headshot of Adriaan Brits

An analyst of global affairs, Adriaan has an MSC from Oxford, with diverse interests in the digital economy, entertainment, and business. He is a specialist trainer in advanced analytics and media.

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