BTS band members’ fortunes surge thanks to record label’s IPO


Members of the superstar South Korean boy band BTS reaped a multimillion-dollar windfall Thursday thanks to their record label’s blockbuster initial public offering.

Shares in Big Hit Entertainment — the Seoul-based music firm behind the wildly popular K-pop act — opened at 270,000 Korean won, or roughly $236 a share, in the company’s market debut Thursday, double the offering price set last month.

The stock climbed as much as 30 percent in early trading before ending the day at 258,000 won, or about $225 a share, giving the record company a market value of 8.7 trillion won, or some $7.6 billion.

BTS’s seven members, who were each given 68,385 shares in Big Hit in August, also made out like bandits with individual stakes worth nearly $15.4 million at Thursday’s closing price — almost twice the amount expected at the top of the company’s target price range.

The listing was one of South Korea’s hottest IPOs this year and it reportedly drew a flurry of interest from both institutional and retail investors, including BTS’s die-hard fans.

Big Hit’s business depends heavily on BTS, which drove more than 87 percent of the company’s revenues in the first half of this year. Founder and co-CEO Bang Si-hyuk said the management firm would continue “to research, challenge, discover innovative business models, and apply them to continue to grow in the global market.”

Big Hit scored a win with the stock listing even after BTS’s leader, who is known as RM, sparked a controversy in China this week by thanking veterans of the Korean War for their sacrifices in defending South Korea against North Korea, which received help from China.

Chinese nationalists and state media took the remark as a dig at China. BTS-related social media posts from major brands such as Hyundai, Samsung and Fila disappeared from Chinese e-commerce platforms amid the flap.

With Post wires

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