Korea's Rain, Softbank team for stock listing


SEOUL -- One of Korea's biggest international stars, Jung Ji-hoon, best known by his stage name Rain, is teaming with Softbank Corporate Restructuring Company Fund to make a so-called "backdoor listing" on Korea's Kosdaq stock market.

Jung, who just finished shooting a supporting role in the Wachowski Brothers' film "Speed Racer," first became a star under the music and entertainment company JYP Entertainment, but went solo in May when his contract expired.

After much speculation about who would next represent Jung, he decided instead to set up his own entertainment company. The money raised in the deal is designed to launch that new company.

In the listing, Jung invested $3.8 million into the wireless telecom equipment maker Satec, with Softbank pumping in $18 million. Satec will aim to raise $24.9 million through issuing new shares to third parties and then Jung and Softbank will turn the troubled tech firm into an entertainment company.

While Jung's four albums have sold about two million copies around Asia and he has starred in several television series as well as the Park Chan-wook film "I'm a Cyborg, but That's Okay," some remained skeptical about the move.

"I don't think this is such a good idea," said Young S. Choi, a senior analyst and head of telecom, media-entertainment at Mirae Asset Securities. "So many celebrities did backdoor listings two or three years ago and all their performances have been so bad."

Other investors in the listing, announced late Monday, include Jung's tour production company, Star M Entertainment, and the tech company Intelligent Telecom.

Softbank has been aggressive in the Korean market, leading the backdoor listing by Bae Yong-joon, who has been extremely popular in Japan for several years. Bae, Softbank and others invested in the Kosdaq-listed company Autowin Tech in 2006, then changed it into a "cultural contents" company called Key East.

However Key East has performed poorly, losing $2.6 million in the first half of 2007.

Jung stopped using the name Rain in the U.S. several months ago due to copyright concerns.