BTS's Korean record label buys Justin Bieber management company

Ithaca, owned by Scooter Braun, also manages artists such as Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato

The Korean record label behind K-pop sensation BTS has agreed a $1bn (£725m) deal to buy the US company that manages Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato.

Hybe, BTS’s label, which was formerly known as Big Hit Entertainment, announced on Friday it was buying Ithaca, the holding company of the US impresario Scooter Braun.

As part of the deal, Braun, who manages Grande, Bieber and other stars, will join the board of Hybe. The deal also includes the Ithaca subsidiary Big Machine Label Group, which is run by Scott Borchetta. He will remain chief executive of the group, whose roster includes Sheryl Crow and Abbey Cone.

Hybe’s chairman and chief executive, Bang Si-Hyuk, said the takeover “marks the start of a new adventure no one could have possibly imagined”.

He said the two companies would work together “to create synergy, transcend borders and break down cultural barriers”. The combined businesses, he added, offered “endless possibilities” and would create a “new paradigm … in the music industry”.

Braun said the deal would open up global opportunities for the artists involved. “This is an opportunity for us to make history and further innovate the music industry and revolutionise the game itself,” he said.

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“Its implications for the business will be monumentous for a long time to come. I am incredibly grateful for Chairman Bang’s friendship and his willingness to support the creative journey of an artist.”

The deal has refocused attention on Taylor Swift’s bitter battle with Braun, who bought the rights to her first six albums via Big Machine Label. Swift accused Braun of attempting to “dismantle” her “musical legacy”, and of “incessant, manipulative bullying”. Big Machine sold the rights last year.

The Hybe deal values Ithaca at 1.19tn won (£725m). As part of the transaction, private equity firm Carlyle Group will sell its significant minority stake in Ithaca Holdings.

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Rupert Neate

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