SEOUL — Talks are underway between CJ ENM, credited with promoting Hallyu (Korean cultural wave), and SM Entertainment, an entertainment powerhouse that spearheaded the expansion of K-pop, on potential business ties through a share purchase agreement or other means. There have been unconfirmed reports on a joint venture, but the two companies refused to give clear answers.
CJ ENM said on October 25 that it has considered acquiring shares in SM to strengthen its music content business. “We are considering acquiring shares in SM Entertainment and synergy to strengthen our music content business, but nothing has been decided,” the group said in a brief regulatory filing, promising to make a new announcement by November 25 when confirmed.
Lee Soo-man, who controls 18.72 percent of SM, has been silent over news reports that CJ ENM is considering creating a new corporation by dividing its music business and merging it with SM, which operates as a record label, talent agency, music production company and is known for having led k-pop with early overseas successes such as H.O.T., S.E.S. and BoA. The label has also represented K-pop artists such as TVXQ!, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, Shinee, Exo, Red Velvet, NCT, SuperM and Aespa.
CJ ENM has launched an aggressive push for content production targeting the global market. SM has proposed joint ventures or investments with information technology startups, following up on Lee’s new vision to pursue a “content universe” where original content will be infinitely expanded and recreated by individual prosumers who both consume and produce.