K-pop’s Hybe agency targets $380m for global M&A push

South Korean K-pop giant Hybe is reportedly seeking $380m in new finance as it targets an M&A drive in the Americas.

The entertainment group, which has spearheaded BTS’s global success and owns the Ariana Grande label Ithaca Holdings, is in talks with investors to secure “equity financing” worth the equivalent of 500 billion won to buy labels in the US and elsewhere, according to the Bloomberg financial news agency.

The Korean group is reported to be flexible with both strategic and financial investors, but the final funding size and timing of the deal could change, as it initially sought to raise about 1 trillion won.

Hybe declined to confirm the Bloomberg report, it said.

The news comes after Hybe founder and chairman Bang Si-hyuk said earlier this year that the group will seek to acquire at least two prominent labels in the Americas this year as part of efforts to become a major player in the global music industry.

The announcement came after Hybe’s bid to buy a larger stage in entertainment company SM Entertainment fell through in February 2023.

“We decided to go global as we originally planned instead of the takeover (of SM),” Bang said during a news conference on March 15 after noting that K-pop controlled less than 2% of global album and music sales.

The company was looking into a top-tier label in Latin America and one or two labels of hot producers in the US, Bang said at that time.

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