K-POP GROUP STARTS TRADE
Shares in Big Hit Entertainment, the management company behind the K-pop group, BTS, begin trading in South Korea today.
The country’s most hotly anticipated initial public offering since 2017 has investors scrambling, with hundreds of pre-orders for every share, according to the New York Times.
What investors are really paying for may not be BTS or its management company, but its ecosystem of followers. BTS fans are known as some of the most devoted in music. Beyond attending concerts, they enthusiastically perform services for the band that range from translating BTS content to running highly coordinated social media campaigns.
The fan base, which calls itself the Army, is diverse, cutting across lines of gender, age, religion and nationality. But investors remain concerned about the company’s dependence on BTS, as boy bands usually have short life spans.
Details: Big Hit reported a profit of $86 million last year, and is valued at around $4 billion, after raising more than $800 million by offering investors about 20 percent of the company. BTS was the world’s most lucrative touring act last year and, by one estimate, adds more than $3.5 billion annually to South Korea’s economy.