Buzzing in the financial investment industry is that CJ, HYBE as well as Kakao are competing to acquire shares of one of Korea's largest entertainment companies, SM Entertainment.
SM, of course, is one of the founding fathers in the K-pop world, having been established in 1995 by producer Lee Soo-man and since then has produced hit K-pop idol groups such as H.O.T, SES, Boa, and TVXQ in the 90s' and early 2000s, to Super Junior, Girls Generation, ShiNee, EXO and Red Velvet in the more recent years.
Now, Lee Soo-man's ownership and leadership will soon come to an end.
Kakao Entertainment and CJ ENM are reportedly the top two contenders for the acquisition of Lee's 18.7-3-percent of shares in SM.
Will it bring about change to the K-pop landscape? It's the topic of our News In-depth tonight with our music critic Youngdae Kim.
Youngdae, good to have you with us.
So there have been rumors from time to time about SM Entertainment being bought out, but this time, it seems there is really some substance behind it. Why has this issue resurfaced at this point? Sources in the industry say the VP of CJ ENM Lee Mi-kyung flew out to Seoul earlier this month to meet up with Lee Soo-man to discuss this deal. How close is this deal from happening?
For Lee Soo-man, SM is his baby. It's both what has gotten him to where he is and he is the reason why both SM, its artists and K-pop is where they are today. Why is it that founder Lee has decided to sell off his shares in its entirety at this point?
It's probably right to say that Lee Soo-man had a whole lot of influence over the style - may that be music, fashion, attitude and training style of the artists at SM entertainment. With Lee Soo-man's exit, do you think we should expect a drastic change in their style?
There's also no denying that both Lee Soo-man and SM artists had tremendous influence in both creating the K-pop wave that it exists today and shaping the K-pop landscape. Do you think that may also be impacted by this change of leadership at one of Korea's largest entertainment companies?
So they say either Kakao or CJ are likely to buy SM. What are the advantages each company has over the other? And for SM? Which do you think is most likely to win the bid for SM?
Music critic, Youngdae Kim, thank you for your insights. We appreciate it.