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In a bold expansion into the U.S. music landscape, South Korean entertainment company HYBE, formerly known as Big Hit Entertainment, aka the home of BTS, is acquiring Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings.
The merger will bring together the two companies’ broad range of services, including management, label services and publishing, for an impressive roster of marquee global artists, such as K-pop super groups BTS, TXT and Seventeen, and U.S. pop stars Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, among others.
Financial terms of the deal, which was jointly announced by the two companies Friday, were not disclosed.
HYBE will handle the acquisition through its wholly owned stateside subsidiary HYBE America, buying 100 percent of Ithaca Holdings, including its properties, such as SB Projects and Big Machine Label Group. Braun, Ithaca’s CEO, will join the board of HYBE, and Scott Borchetta will remain CEO of Big Machine Label Group.
As part of the transaction, private equity firm The Carlyle Group is exiting its significant minority stake in Ithaca after initially investing in the company in 2017 by way of its Carlyle Partners VI fund.
The new partners said that “artists of both companies will participate in the capital increase of HYBE, to further strengthen the ties between the two companies,” without providing further detail.
“With Ithaca Holdings, HYBE sets an important stepping-stone in expanding into the global market and establishes a global top-tier multi-label structure,” the partners said. “Ithaca Holdings’ market and industry expertise will expedite HYBE artists’ entry in the U.S. market and beyond and solidify HYBE’s competitiveness in the global market,” they added.
Said Braun: “This will be the first time HYBE’s groundbreaking systems and curation will be integrated in the U.S. market at the onset of an artist’s career. Plus, it will help us to continue to further the careers of the artists we already work with. Global opportunities for artists become exponential with this partnership.”
Added HYBE founder and chairman Bang Si-hyuk: “The inevitable joining of HYBE and Ithaca Holdings marks the start of a new adventure no one could have possibly imagined. The two companies will work closely together leveraging our proven track records of success, know-how, and expertise to create synergy, transcend borders and break down cultural barriers. Please look forward to the endless possibilities of HYBE and Ithaca Holdings, and the new paradigm the partnership will establish in the music industry.”
HYBE was represented in the deal by David Hernand and Iksoo Kim of Paul Hastings LLP.
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