BTS agency expands U.S. business scope thru acquisition of Ithaca Holdings

By Lim Chang-won Posted : April 2, 2021, 17:15 Updated : April 2, 2021, 17:15

[Courtesy of MAMA2020]

SEOUL -- Through its American subsidiary, the agency of K-pop wonder BTS acquired Ithaca Holdings, a Los Angeles-based investment holding company that controls the label of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, underlining efforts to expand its business scope in the U.S. music market.

The deal came two weeks after Big Hit Entertainment founded by Bang Si-hyuk changed its name to HYBE to herald a new start as a comprehensive entertainment lifestyle platform company that creates and delivers extended content and services based on music to fans.

The acquisition of Ithaca through Big Hit America that cost some $950 million is designed to "accelerate our entry into the global market by acquiring an overseas label through our U.S. subsidiary," HYBE said in a regulatory filing on April 2.

Bang has organized a structure formed by three axes -- label, solution and platform. The music label survives under the name of "Big Hit Music." The solution division consists of subsidiaries that create secondary and tertiary businesses specialized in performance, video content, intellectual property and games.

The platform division is based on Weverse, a fan community service that allows fans to interact with artists and makes profits through subscription models and streaming. In January, Big Hit announced a three-way alliance with YG Entertainment and Naver, a top web portal service operator and IT company in South Korea, to create an integrated platform accommodating domestic and foreign artists.

Bang has vowed to expand the realm of music-based entertainment and innovate the industry without boundaries. With plenty of capital raised through its initial public offering in October 2020, he has pushed for aggressive structural changes to introduce a multi-label system.
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