Three BTS members pocket $8.4m from sale of agency shares

by BLOOMBERG

THREE of the seven-member BTS K-pop group sold shares in their management company to pocket $8.4 million, ahead of sold-out concerts in Los Angeles and their win for the artist of the year at the American Music Awards.

The members – Jin, J-Hope, and RM – unloaded a combined 31,986 shares in Hybe Co., formerly known as Big Hit, between Oct. 13 and Nov. 9, according to a regulatory filing. Stock of the Seoul-based firm hit a record high on Nov. 16, more than doubling from its initial public offering in October 2020.

Before the IPO, Bang Si-Hyuk, Hybe’s founder and brains behind BTS, gave a total of 478,695 shares, or a 1.41% stake in the company, to the group, which split up the largess equally. The shares are now worth about $165 million.

Jin, whose Korean name is Kim Seok-jin, sold 16,000 shares worth $4.1 million, while J-Hope, formally known as Jung Ho-seok, unloaded 5,601 shares for $1.57 million. RM, who is listed as Kim Nam-joon in the regulatory filing, sold 10,385 shares, pocketing $2.75 million.

The agency posted a record profit for the third quarter, as sales of albums surged to 4.85 million units from 900,000 a year earlier, according to Hakyung Park, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities. BTS concerts in North America, which sold out in minutes, and sales of content and merchandise will bolster fourth-quarter earnings, Park said.

The group is looking to reap as much earnings as possible before a mandatory two-year military conscription kicks in. The BTS Army, the group’s huge fan base, recently succeeded in getting South Korea to revise its military service law to allow for exemptions including allowing oldest member, Jin, to defer military service until end-2022.

A spokesman for South Korea’s defense ministry said last month that exempting the members from military service entirely is a sensitive matter, citing the diminishing population of young male adults in South Korea.