As Investors Scoop Up Shares, One Thing Looms Over BTS

K-pop group's star is rising—but military service awaits
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2020 9:50 AM CDT
K-Pop's BTS Faces Challenge No US Group Faces
Members of the South Korean K-pop group BTS salute to their national flag during a ceremony at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, on Sept. 19, 2020.   (Lee Jin-wook/Yonhap via AP)

Ordinary investors got a shot at shares in the management agency of K-pop sensation BTS on Monday and Tuesday. And they didn't hold back, requesting 58.4 trillion won worth—the equivalent of $50.2 billion. As AFP reports, that's 607 times more than the value of the shares on offer and just shy of the record 58.5 trillion won subscribed to South Korean online gaming company Kakao Games last month. In total, Big Hit Entertainment is offering around 7.1 million shares at 135,000 won each, or about $115, giving the agency a valuation of $4.1 billion. But just 20% of shares were reserved for retail investors.

Oh Sang-min, a 32-year-old retail worker, told Reuters that he requested 100 million won worth of shares on Tuesday but could only get two. Jeong Do-hyeon was also successful. The 71-year-old told AFP he intends to gift shares to his grandchildren, though he's a bit of a BTS fan himself. "I find them and their dance very vibrant and nice to look at," he said. Investors appeared unconcerned that all seven band members will soon have to complete roughly two years of military service, a requirement for able-bodied males between 18 and 28 in South Korea. At least one band member can't delay his service beyond the end of next year. (BTS was responsible for 97% of Bit Hit's sales last year.)

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