The Korea Herald


BTS agency likely to face tougher disclosure rules

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Sept. 27, 2023 - 13:41

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A slogan for K-pop boy band BTS’ 10th anniversary is displayed at Hybe's headquarters in Yongsan, central Seoul, June 12. (Newsis) A slogan for K-pop boy band BTS’ 10th anniversary is displayed at Hybe's headquarters in Yongsan, central Seoul, June 12. (Newsis)

Hybe, the K-pop powerhouse behind the mega success of bands such as BTS and New Jeans, could be obliged to disclose its corporate information if the total assets of the firm and its affiliates continue to surpass 5 trillion won ($3.7 billion) by the end of this year.

The combined total assets of Hybe and its 16 affiliates stood at 5.37 trillion won as of end-June, a report by corporate data research institute CEO Score showed Wednesday.

Under the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act, a business group whose total assets are over 5 trillion won is required to file disclosures. The Fair Trade Commission makes an annual announcement on the watch list of companies that are subject to mandatory filings, based on the share ratios and financial statements of the firms at the end of the year.

If the value of the total assets surpasses 5 trillion won at the end of this year, Hybe will have to face tougher rules applied to big companies, such as announcing disclosures on internal trading and being regulated against unfair channeling of business profits, from next year, a first for a K-pop agency here.

Hybe's total assets increased from 3.58 trillion won from the end of last year to 3.98 trillion won as of end-June, up 11.5 percent. Including the assets of its 16 subsidiaries such as Weverse Company (569 billion won), Big Hit Music (375 billion won) and Pledis Entertainment (147 billion won), the combined total assets are over 5 trillion won.

Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance, insurance arm of conglomerate Hyundai, could be subject to mandated disclosures soon, too. It was exempt from disclosures this year as its total assets dropped lower than 5 trillion won as the value of its held bonds declined last year.

As of the end of June, its total assets stood at 8.73 trillion won, surpassing the 5 trillion-won bar again, the report showed.

According to the report, 27 mid-sized companies here have neared the 5 trillion-won minimum asset ceiling for obligated disclosures as of end-June.

Five companies, including local pharmaceutical company Dong-A Socio Holdings, saw an increase in their assets from the 3 trillion-won range last year to the 4 trillion-won range as of end-June. The total assets of Dong-A Socio Holdings stood at 4.18 trillion won, up from 3.93 trillion won.

Seronics saw a more than 1 trillion-won increase in its total assets from 3.33 trillion won to 4.4 trillion won, as the assets of its affiliate LNF, a cathode active material supplier, surged.

Some mid-sized firms saw a drop in their total assets, too.

Iljin, affiliated with heavy electric machinery firm Iljin Holdings, saw the sharpest drop in its total assets among middle standing enterprises in the first half of this year, as the figure dipped by more than 2 trillion won from 5.07 trillion won to 2.86 trillion won.

Iljin sold eight of its affiliates including Iljin Materials, now known as Lotte Energy Materials, this year. In March, copper foil manufacturer Iljin Materials was sold at 2.7 trillion won to the petrochemical giant Lotte Chemical.