New BTS album release date set for Nov 20

Band members to be multimillionaire stockholders

K-pop phenomenon BTS will meet with global fans with the new album <i>BE</i> due out on Nov 20, its producer Big Hit Entertainment has announced.

Members of K-Pop boyband BTS attend Youth Day at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul on Sept 19, 2020. (Yonhap via Reuters photo)

The label said pre-orders began on Monday and general release is due on Nov 20, adding the highly anticipated album contains “the most ‘BTS-esque’ music yet”.

“The latest story from BTS begins by declaring that ‘even in the face of this new normality, out life goes on’ and imparts a message of healing to fans and to the world,” Pulse quoted Big Hit as saying.

The arrival follows the release of BTS’s new single Dynamite, the first all English-written song that conquered the No.1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 main singles chart as the first K-pop act. The upcoming album is the septet’s second one for this year following the first release, the Map of the Soul: 7, which dropped on Feb 21.

Big Hit prices IPO at top of range

Big Hit has priced its initial public offering (IPO) at the top of its range on Monday, as hopeful buyers chased South Korea's largest listing in three years.

Institutional investors expressed interest in more than 1,000 times the number of shares on offer.

An army of retail investors, known in South Korea as Ants, is also clamouring to buy stock, while die-hard BTS fans are bidding in hopes of securing even one share in what analysts expect to the country' hottest listing this year.

Big Hit priced the IPO at 135,000 won ($114.99) per share, it said in a regulatory filing, the top of an indicative price range of 105,000-135,000 won announced earlier this month.

Some 1,420 institutional investors sought shares in pre-subscription offers, looking for 1,117 times the number available, the filing said. About 98% said they would pay the top-range price or more.

"Big Hit is classified as a kind of global export firm," said Park Sung-ho, analyst at Yuanta Securities Korea.

"Not only has it proven its ability to use Youtube, social media for smart market infiltration, it has fandom platform Weverse which gives unprecedented clarity and control over its revenue sources for a label, and may grow into a true platform player as outside artists ncreasingly join."

Big Hit reported a 49.7 billion won profit for the first half of 2020 as its online concert and merchandise sales on the Weverse app more than offset event cancellations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The IPO will make the seven BTS members multimillionaire stockholders, as Big Hit CEO Bang Si-hyuk in August gave them 68,385 shares each, worth nearly $7.9 million at the issue price.

The firm will raise 962.6 billion won ($820 million) through the offer of 7.13 million new shares, the biggest South Korean IPO since Celltrion Healthcare raised 1 trillion won in 2017.

The pricing values Big Hit at about 4.8 trillion won, taking into account common shares plus redeemable preferred shares that will be converted into common shares upon the IPO.

With plenty of liquidity in the market, some analysts predict gross bids from retail investors could hit 100 trillion won ($85 billion).

The central bank is watching the offer closely as a massive oversubscription for shares could send ripples through short-term money markets.

Institutional and retail investors' subscriptions are due on Oct 5-6 and Big Hit is expected to list on the KOSPI on Oct 15.

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