HYBE Chairman Bang Si-Hyuk, lovingly known as Bang PD-Nim, finally addresses concerns and allegations of a hostile takeover in an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest.
Throughout the interview, the Chairman was calm and answered directly to the stream of questions. First, he admitted there’s much misinformation about HYBE acquiring SM Entertainment shares from its founder Lee Soo-Man. There is a need to clarify, as even with HYBE and SM Entertainment combined, no monopoly could take place in the South Korean entertainment market.
There is no hostile takeover, as the shares were bought with the consent of SM Entertainment’s biggest shareholder then and in due process. Rather, Chairman Bang thinks it is a serious problem that SM Entertainment’s management wants to run a distributed company as they wish without a major shareholder.
To the HYBE Chairman, he doesn’t think the issue is whether or not they could raise their shares to 40%. He believes the meeting of the shareholders is a crucial issue. Only when the support is obtained can they form the board of directors they want. For so long, he was saddened that a good company like SM Entertainment does not have a good governance structure. This problem was almost solved through the stake acquisition. And he said HYBE is well-known for helping artists become successful only in the management process without touching the autonomy of their artistic originality.
SM Entertainment expressed their sentiments of the interview through the show, “HYBE is currently attempting a hostile M&A of the company without having conducted any consultation or due diligence of the company. That will adversely affect shareholder value.”
The court already ruled in favor of SM’s founder Lee Soo-Man in blocking SM Entertainment’s current management from selling shares to Kakao. The general board meeting of shareholders at SM Entertainment, which will decide the management’s fate, will take place on March 31, 2023.