Big Bang’s YG More Than Doubles on Debut After Drug Scandal

Big Bang’s YG More Than Doubles on Debut After Drug Scandal
YG Entertainment Co. artists Sandara Park, from left, Yoo In Na, Sean, and Yang Min Suk, chief executive officer of YG Entertainment, pose for photographs at the company's initial public offering ceremony in Seoul. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

YG Entertainment Co., which manages South Korean boy band Big Bang, more than doubled in its first day of stock trading in Seoul after individual investors demanded 561 times the amount of stock available in the company’s initial public offering.

Seoul-based YG, which also manages female quartet 2NE1, climbed to 78,200 won as of the 3 p.m. close on the Korea Exchange, compared with its IPO price of 34,000 won. The company is a constituent of South Korea’s junior Kosdaq Index, which fell 3 percent today.

YG had been aiming to copy the success of listed rivals S.M. Entertainment Co. and JYP Entertainment Corp., whose shares have tripled this year amid the increasing overseas popularity of Korean pop, or “K-pop.” Retail investors put 3.64 trillion won ($3.17 billion) in accounts with arrangers as key money for bids for the shares, the highest amount for any IPO on the Kosdaq market this year, lead arranger Daewoo Securities Co. said.

“Entertainment stocks are of hot interest among investors amid this K-pop boom,” Kwon Yoon Gu, an analyst at Dongbu Securities Co., said by phone. “The IPO prices look cheap, and I think the stock is set to gain especially given that the company is preparing to more actively tap the Japanese market.”

YG this month priced its IPO above a range offered to investors as K-pop’s popularity overshadowed a marijuana scandal involving Big Bang. YG raised 42.4 billion won selling almost 1.25 million shares. Institutional investors at home and overseas showed “strong” interest in the share sale, the company said at the time.

Drug Scandal

G-Dragon, the leader of Big Bang, whose off-stage name is Kwon Ji Yong, tested positive for marijuana use, YG said in a statement on Oct. 5. He accepted what he thought was a regular tobacco cigarette from a fan during a tour of Japan in May and took “two or three puffs” before throwing it in a toilet, the company said.

The scandal prompted YG to revise its prospectus in October to include potential risks related to the band. G-Dragon’s drug use could be a “constraint” for the band’s activities for a while as concerts may be delayed and revenue from commercials could fall, the company said at the time. Big Bang and its members accounted for more than half of the company’s total sales in 2010, YG said.

YG plans to use the proceeds from its share sale to increase its pool of new artists, add production staff and open offices abroad. The company is headed by Yang Hyun Suk, a former member of Seo Taiji and Boys, a 1990s trio that mixed pop, rap, rock and techno to become cultural icons in Korea.

Super Junior

Videos of S.M. Entertainment’s flagship bands -- Girls Generation and Super Junior -- have generated tens of millions of views globally on Google Inc.’s YouTube. In France, hundreds of fans gathered in front of the Louvre on May 1, demanding S.M. hold another showcase of its artists in Paris after about 7,000 tickets for a June concert sold out in 15 minutes.

S.M. Entertainment, which has tripled this year, sank 14 percent in Seoul today to 51,600 won. JYP Entertainment, which manages girl group Miss A, fell 12 percent to 8,170 won and has also tripled this year.

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