Korean music company HYBE, which represents K-pop superband BTS, lost $1.7 billion of market value within the first hour of stock trading on Wednesday (June 15) following the band's hiatus announcement. On Tuesday, June 14, the seven group members announced that they are going on a hiatus -- via a translator -- to pursue solo work, which almost instantaneously knocked HYBE shares in South Korean trade down by nearly 28 per cent, reports 'Variety'.
HYBE shares had fallen by just about 25,000 won on Wednesday morning and continued to drop throughout the day, wiping out $1.7 billion of market capitalisation.
Within the first hour of trading, the shares surged slightly from their starting point of 140,000 won to 145,500 won. The company is currently headed for its lowest close since it went public in 2020.
However, on Wednesday HYBE released a statement backpedaling on the use of the word "hiatus." The group had spoken in Korean in their video announcement and the word "hiatus" was used in English subtitles. "BTS are not taking a hiatus. Members will be focusing more on solo projects at this time," the statement said.
Additionally, BTS' Jung Kook went live on the V Live app and clarified the misunderstandings further saying via a translator that the band would be working on solo projects, but that doesn't mean that they will stop working as a team. He also reiterated that BTS are not disbanding -- as they insisted during the announcement -- just taking a new direction in planning, as they will continue shooting their "Run BTS" web series on the V Live app.
The clarification came shortly after Jung Kook dropped a solo single dedicated to the group's fan 'Army' called 'My You', reports 'Variety'.
In the nine years since their debut, BTS made up 27 per cent of HYBE's US album sales and streams, additionally making up nearly all of the company's touring income. According to HYBE's 2021 fourth-quarter earnings report, BTS drove a 980.5 per cent (yoy) increase in concert sales, earning the company approximately 49.7 billion won ($42,000,000). The majority of those earnings came from BTS' 'Permission to Dance' concerts in Los Angeles.
In 2021, HYBE acquired Ithaca Holdings from Scooter Braun which expanded the company from its BTS-driven revenue and took up 45 per cent of the South Korean company's US album sales.
BTS also recently released their 35-track anthology album 'Proof' (Big Hit/Geffen) which is now projected to debut with the year's second-biggest sales of the year, following Harry Styles' 'Harry's House'.