(SEOUL, South Korea) — Entertainment company HYBE’s stocks took a nosedive on Wednesday after its K-pop sensation BTS announced that they will no longer perform as a group.
HYBE’s stock price plunged by 24.87% to 145,000 South Korean won — or $112.29 U.S. dollars — compared to the day before, marking the lowest the company has traded in 52 weeks.
“I felt like [our team] lost a direction, and I wanted to come back after giving some thought about it, but I was worried that it may seem disrespectful if I told people about this,” bandleader RM of BTS told fans through their official YouTube channel.
The uploaded video of the dinner party where BTS members spoke frankly of what was on their minds during the sleepless world tours and non-stop album production led to a drop in stock prices the next day. The plummeting stock prices of HYBE management company was widely expected after the announcement that the boyband would hit pause after nine years of performances.
“HYBE’s projected profit is estimated around 154 million USD in 2023 and 286 million USD in 2024 under the assumption that BTS will go on a break from its group activities,” Lee Ki-hoon, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment, speculated in a report. “Given that BTS will be absent because of military service, the decrease in sales for HYBE is estimated to be around 580 million USD.”
Big Hit Music, a subsidiary company of HYBE that is responsible for BTS’ group activities, attempted to extinguish concerns expressed by fans and investors that BTS members are permanently turning the page on their collaborative efforts and beginning a new journey to pursue solo projects.
“The group will remain active as a team while taking individual journeys to further achieve personal growth,” the entertainment company told ABC News.
Culture analysts say that the drop in stock prices was to be expected considering the huge influence the group has on the company.
“HYBE relies over 20% of its stock on BTS alone,” culture critic Kim Hern-sik told ABC News. “Despite how the members said they will go for solo albums, fans and investors could have been temporarily shocked.”
Meanwhile, there was also optimism among fans and critics that BTS’ break from group performances could potentially end up revitalizing the group.
“BTS has been a symbol of K-pop idol groups, but their absence could be an opportunity for other K-pop groups who have been shadowed by BTS,” pop-columnist Ha Jae-keun told ABC News.
Ha also explained that despite the two to three years of absence as a group, global fans will welcome the group back as long as they return with quality content.
“As BTS announced that they will focus on solo albums, I see it as solving the uncertainty for the group due to their inevitable military enrollment,” Kim told ABC News. “Each BTS member has their own individual fandom and if their solo albums flourish, it will actually increase the K-pop content consumption as a whole even when some of its members are serving in the military.”
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