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BTS agency's founder joins Korean stock-rich list

By
Lee Jong-hwa & Kim Tae-gyu, UPI News Korea
HYBE founder Bang Si-hyuk has taken the ninth position in the country’s stock-rick list. HYBE is a music label for South Korea’s popular boy group BTS. Photo courtesy of HYBE
HYBE founder Bang Si-hyuk has taken the ninth position in the country’s stock-rick list. HYBE is a music label for South Korea’s popular boy group BTS. Photo courtesy of HYBE

SEOUL, July 16 (UPI) -- Bang Si-hyuk, the music producer behind South Korea's boy group BTS, has joined the country's stock-rich list as the stock price of his company HYBE jumped this year.

Bang is worth $3.2 billion, as of July 9, nudging past SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won for the No. 9 position, according to financial data provider FnGuide.

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When HYBE went public in October, Bang was worth around $1.5 billion, but his worth more than doubled during the past eight months thanks to the appreciation of HYBE's valuation.

The 49-year-old billionaire owns 34 percent of HYBE, formerly Big Hit Entertainment, which chalked up a record operating profit of $125 million last year thanks to the popularity of BTS.

The seven-piece group's latest single, "Butter," has topped the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart for the past seven weeks in a row.

Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, who is in prison for bribing former South Korean President Park Geun-hye to tighten his grip on Samsung, topped the list with $13.52 billion.

His mother, Hong Ra-hee, assumed the second position, with $9.85 billion, followed by Kakao founder Kim Beom-su with $8.38 billion, and Lee Jae-yong's two sisters, Lee Boo-jin with $6.72 billion and Lee Seo-hyun with $6.24 billion.

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"Traditionally, second- or third-generation tycoons have ruled Korea's stock-rich list. But new entrepreneurs like Kakao founder Kim and HYBE founder Bang are coming to the fore," business tracker Leader's Index chief Park Ju-gun told UPI News Korea.

"And their businesses, like Internet and music, are promising. This is a very good signal because they are breathing new momentum into the country's economy," he said.

Meanwhile, HYBE said early this month that Bang stepped down as CEO of the agency to focus on his other roles as chairman and in music production.

Park Ji-won, chief of HYBE's head office operations and management, succeeded Bang, according to the company.

In 2005, Bang founded Big Hit Entertainment, which changed its name to HYBE this year. The Seoul-based music label debuted BTS in 2013.

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