Actor and businessman Bae Yong-joon recently sold KeyEast Entertainment, the company he built from ground up, to SM Entertainment. KeyEast Entertainment is one of Korea’s largest actor management companies, which Bae Yong-joon was in charge of for the past 14 years.
On March 14, SM Entertainment announced that they acquired KeyEast by buying the shares of founder Bae Yong-joon’s for 50 billion won. This made SM Entertainment a practical owner of KeyEast with 31 percent of the company’s shares.
Officials from the industry said that Bae Yong-joon has been struggling from continued gossips about him and his family. One official said, “especially last year’s controversy about his wife receiving a special treatment for giving birth hit him really hard. The gossips continued afterwards which stressed out Bae Yong-joon even more.”
Some predicted that the reason SM Entertainment took over KeyEast was because the finances of KeyEast has worsen. However, a representative from KeyEast clarified, “we do not have any debt and hold sufficient amount of cash. It is not in a financial problem, Bae Yong-joon simply sought a few changes as a businessman. We see it as a decision influenced by the changes in the market.”
By selling his company to SM Entertainment, Bae Yong-joon received a market profit of 35 billion won after 12 years of running the business. The entertainment industry called it, “Bae Yong-joon making a key move as a businessman.”
When Bae Yong-joon gave away his KeyEast shares to SM Entertainment, he also gained some shares of SM. As a result, it made Bae Yong-joon the third largest shareholder of SM Entertainment. Bae Yong-joon has to step down from the business aspect now that he is only a shareholder, but he will continue to have an influence on the company as one of the largest shareholders.
Meanwhile, SM Entertainment is currently undergoing a change in the business structure of the company. Current discussion topics include mixing the new management and position of KeyEast and the original management and position of SM.
Translated by Dasol Kim
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