HYBE buys stocks of SM Entertainment founder to become largest shareholder 

HYBE, the parent Korean entertainment company of K-pop stars BTS, Seventeen, ENHYPEN and Tomorrow X Together, will become the largest shareholder of SM Entertainment, which manages EXO, NCT and Aespa.

In a financial disclosure filed on Feb. 10, HYBE announced that it has entered into a stock purchase agreement on Feb. 9 for the purpose of acquiring 3,523,420 common stocks of SM Entertainment owned by Lee Soo-man Lee, the largest shareholder of SM Entertainment.

Bang Si-hyuk (center), the largest shareholder of HYBE with BTS, and (bottom) Lee Soo-man, the largest shareholder of SM Entertainment, with EXO's Suho (Instagram, SM Entertainment)

Lee Soo-man founded the company but is currently in legal dispute with the management of SM Entertainment after Kakao, an internet and entertainment company, purchased a 9.05 percent stake in the company.

In the disclosure, HYBE said its cash purchase of Lee Soo-man’s stocks amounted to 422.8 billion won ($334 million). This will give HYBE a 14.8 percent stake in SM Entertainment to become the largest shareholder of the company.

The expected acquisition date is on March 6.

HYBE said the purpose of the acquisition is strengthening competitiveness and creating synergy effects in the K-pop market.