K-pop agency in $1bn deal to buy US media group that managed Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande

Big Hit will pay a total of $1.05bn to shareholders and bondholders to purchase Ithaca

epa09075437 A handout screengrab made available by The Recording Academy shows (L-R) RM, V, Jungkook, Jimin, J-Hope, Suga, and Jin of BTS performing onstage during the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center, in Los Angeles, California, USA, 14 March 2021.  EPA/Theo Wargo / HANDOUT ATTENTION EDITORS: IMAGE TO BE USED ONLY IN RELATION TO THE STATED EVENT / HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES/NO ARCHIVES
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The Korean company that launched K-pop sensation BTS is buying for $1.05 billion a star-studded US media group behind the careers of global stars Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.

Big Hit Entertainment, which is changing its name to HYBE, is investing 1.07 trillion won ($950 million) into its US unit to acquire Ithaca Holdings, parent company of Atlas Music Publishing. Atlas also owns the rights to music by Brandi Carlile, Andrea Bocelli and the back catalogue of rock group Van Halen. Big Hit will pay a total of $1.05bn to shareholders and bondholders to purchase Ithaca, according to a regulatory filing in Seoul.

The acquisition of Ithaca, headed by US record executive Scooter Braun, would be the first major foray into the US market for Big Hit Entertainment. Mr Braun, currently Ithaca’s chief executive, will join the board of HYBE, and Ithaca artists will participate in the capital increase of HYBE to further strengthen the ties between the two companies.

The company helped popularise K-pop, adding to the rising global visibility of Korean entertainment such as films like “Parasite,” the winner of the Academy Award for best picture in 2020.

BTS’s “Dynamite” topped the Billboard’s Hot 100 in 2020, the first Asian act to be No 1 on the US Music chart since Kyu Sakamoto’s “Sukiyaki” held the No. 1 spot for 3 weeks in 1963.