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Kakao secures 40 pct stake in SM Entertainment through tender offer

Entertainment 14:07 March 28, 2023

SEOUL, March 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korean tech giant Kakao Corp. said Tuesday that it has secured a total 40 percent stake in SM Entertainment through a tender offer, gaining management control over the K-pop powerhouse.

Earlier this month, Kakao and its entertainment unit, Kakao Entertainment Corp., had offered 150,000 won (US$115.4) per share to acquire an additional 8.33 million shares in SM Entertainment amid the intensifying battle with Hybe.

Through the tender offer, which ran from March 7 through Sunday, the two companies hold a combined 9.5 million shares, or a 39.87 percent stake, in SM Entertainment as of Tuesday, according to a filing by Kakao.

As a result, Kakao won the bidding war against Hybe to become the largest shareholder in SM Entertainment, the K-pop agency behind EXO, Aespa and NCT.

Hybe, which is behind the global superstar BTS, initially bought a 14.8 percent stake in SM Entertainment from SM founder Lee Su-man but later halted its takeover bid following an agreement with Kakao a few days after Kakao's tender offer started.

"We will create great synergy based on SM Entertainment's global K-pop intellectual property and production system and Kakao's IT and business capability," Kakao CEO Hong Eun-taek said during the shareholders meeting Tuesday. "We'll speed up the takeover process and announce our business plans among Kakao, Kakao Entertainment and SM Entertainment."

The corporate logo of Kakao Corp. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The corporate logo of Kakao Corp. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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