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K-pop firm owners’ stocks drop in value

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SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man. Yonhap/The Korea Herald

K-pop firm owners’ stocks drop in value

The value of stocks owned by both former and current entertainment agency owners in South Korea have dropped nearly 30 per cent compared to last year, data showed on Sunday, as the industry struggles to cope with a slew of scandals as well as trade tensions between Korea and Japan, a key market.

According to conglomerate research firm Chaebul.com, the combined value of stocks held by seven most stock-rich entertainment agency owners fell 28.7 per cent to 512 billion won ($435.5 million) as of Friday.

Former CEO and chief producer of YG Entertainment Yang Hyun-suk saw the steepest decline, with the value of his stock holdings dropping 41.1 per cent to 93 billion won from last year’s 158.5 billion won.

Yang stepped down from leading YG Entertainment in June – after its artists were mired in an industry-wide K-pop scandal, including allegations of drug use and prostitution – but the former CEO still holds a 16.12 per cent stake in the agency, making him the largest shareholder.

YG’s share price ended at 27,800 won on Friday, which is 41.5 per cent lower than at the beginning of the year.

‘Situation may improve’

The value of shares held by SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man dropped 29.4 per cent in the same period to 162.7 billion won. Lee owns a 19.04 per cent stake in the agency named after him.

For JYP Entertainment founder and Chief Communications Officer Park Jin-young, the value of his stock holdings fell 29.9 per cent to 133.3 billion won from 193 billion won.

Stock prices of SM and JYP have fallen 29.7 per cent and 29.9 per cent, respectively since the beginning of the year.

Last year, Japan accounted for more than 15 per cent of the total market share for all three major agencies.

K-pop artists hold concerts and release several albums in Japan annually, since the neighbouring country grew into a stable market nearly a decade ago.

“Due to heightening political and economic dispute with Japan, valuation of firms in the entertainment industry have been plummeting,” said Hana Financial Investment analyst Lee Ki-hoon.

“It seems the comeback of major artists slated in the near-future will not be able to lift [the dampened investor sentiment], but the situation may improve next year,” he added. THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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