It’s official: HYBE has signed a deal with SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo Man that will make him the company’s largest shareholder.
On February 10, it was officially confirmed that HYBE is acquiring a 14.8 percent stake in SM Entertainment from Lee Soo Man for 422.8 billion won (approximately $334.3 million).
Before the deal, Lee Soo Man owned an 18.46 percent stake in SM Entertainment, making him the company’s largest shareholder. Earlier this week, Kakao became the second-largest shareholder after acquiring a 9.05 percent stake in the company: a move that Lee Soo Man denounced as illegal – and which he is taking legal action against.
Last week, current SM Entertainment CEO Lee Sung Soo (who is Lee Soo Man’s nephew) and COO Tak Young Jun announced their vision for a newly restructured “SM 3.0,” which included cutting ties with longtime SM Entertainment producer Lee Soo Man. A few days later, Kakao acquired its stake in the company. Lee Soo Man then flew back to Korea and declared that he would take legal action against SM Entertainment for violating the Commercial Law by illegally issuing new company shares and convertible bonds without the consent of the major shareholder (Lee Soo Man) during the leadership disputes.
Outside of the deal with Lee Soo Man, HYBE also announced that it plans to acquire additional shares of SM Entertainment from minority shareholders, which will further increase its stake in the company.