In 2005, Bang Si-hyuk founded Big Hit Entertainment, which later launched K-pop boy band BTS. Photo courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment
SEOUL, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Big Hit Entertainment, which manages K-pop megastar boy band BTS, plans to go public this year, a move that would make it the most valuable entertainment company in South Korea, according to reports.
Big Hit recently sent a request for proposal to Korean and global brokerage houses for an initial public offering, The Bell and Maeil Business News Korea reported Monday, citing unnamed sources.
The list of RFP recipients was not disclosed. But the Bell reported that they are NH Investment & Securities, Korea Investment & Securities, Citigroup Global Markets and JPMorgan.
Big Hit hasn't confirmed -- or denied -- the news.
Based on the rising popularity of BTS, the seven-piece boy group, Big Hit chalked up $179 million in sales and $54 million in profits in 2018.
During the first six months of last year, its turnover amounted to $167 million for a profit of $33 million.
The company's value is expected to be between $2.5 billion and $3.3 billion.
Big Hit was founded in 2005 by Bang Si-hyuk, who owns a 48.1 percent stake in the Seoul-based label, which launched BTS in 2013. After the IPO, Bang would likely become a billionaire.
The second-largest shareholder is Korean online game publisher Netmarble, which holds 25.55 percent.
The Hyundai Research Institute estimated last year that the value of Big Hit is between $1.16 billion and 2.07 billion.