With strong global demand for K-pop, share prices of major entertainment agencies are on a robust rally this year.
The added market value of the four major K-pop agencies -- Hybe, JYP Entertainment, YG Entertainment and SM Entertainment -- has increased by some 8 trillion ($6.16 billion) won this year, nearing 20 trillion won.
Shares of Hybe, the K-pop company behind the global boy group BTS, closed at 270,000 won on Friday. Though it is lower than the peak of 303,000 won on May 3, it marks a steep growth from how the 169,500 won recorded earlier this year.
Its market cap stands at 11.24 trillion won, taking up more than half of the combined value of the top four agencies.
Though Hybe was expected to put up a slow performance this year as BTS are on a hiatus with some of its members embarking on their mandatory military service, it posted a record high first quarter turnover, backed by robust album sales.
With the skyrocketing shares, the value of the stock holdings owned by Hybe's founder and chairperson Bang Si-hyuk spiked from 2.28 trillion won to 3.55 trillion won, making him the seventh wealthiest person in Korea in terms of stock value, following the members of the Samsung family and other top financial figures. Bang holds a 31.58 percent stake in Hybe.
Share prices of JYP Entertainment and YG Entertainment nearly doubled this year, as stocks of JYP increased from 67,200 won to 128,700 won, while that of YG increased from 48,050 won to 92,200 won.
The stock rally made the market value of JYP surpass 4 trillion won in mid-May, just a month after surpassing 3 trillion won in mid-April.
Over the same period, the value of shares held by JYP Entertainment’s head Park Jin-young nearly doubled from 370 billion won to 700 billion won. Park holds a 15.22 percent stake in the company.
The rally, like that of Hybe’s, was backed by all-time highest earnings from the first quarter. Further boosts can be expected as JYP, which represents girl band Twice and boy group Stray Kids, is to unveil a global girl group project named A2K.
Shares of SM Entertainment, on the other hand, were slow to grow in comparison with other K-pop agencies, marking a small increase from 75,200 won to 101,900 won this year.
SM stocks recorded an all-time high of 161,200 won on March 8, when the company was in dispute over management rights. However, the price has plummeted since it was decided that portal giant Kakao will take over the company.
Shares of SM further dropped by more than 10,000 won after three members of popular boy band EXO announced Thursday they will terminate their exclusive contracts with the agency and file a lawsuit against it for outstanding payment.
Meanwhile, projecting the K-pop industry will grow further, foreign investors are stepping up their investments in K-pop agencies, net buying shares worth 341 billion won in JYP, 308 billion won in Hybe, 158 billion won in YG and 124 billion won in SM this year.
The market expects share prices of the K-pop agencies to further rise as its platform business is expected to expand.
“Entertainment platforms, which have already secured content and a source of demand with a strong lock-in on the content, are bound to succeed,” analyst Park Soo-young from Hanwha Investment & Securities said, referring to fan community platforms such as Hybe's Weverse and SM's Bubble.
“The Korean entertainment industry presents endless opportunities with its unique artist training system, systematized fan base management and secondary profits through goods and platforms,” said Ji In-hae, an analyst from Shinhan Securities.