Cover J-Hope, Suga, V, Jimin, Jin, Jungkook, RM of BTS perform onstage for the 2020 American Music Awards. (Photo: Getty Images)

Hybe shares sank as much as 28 per cent on June 15 and wiped out as much as US$1.7 billion (SG$2.4 billion) in market value

Following the announcement that South Korean supergroup BTS plan to take a break to focus on solo projects, shares of Hybe, the agency that manages the septet, plunged by record-breaking numbers. 

Hybe shares sank as much as 28 per cent on June 15 in Seoul, which makes this its lowest close on record since its trading debut in October 2020. The plunge wiped out as much as US$1.7 billion (SG$2.4 billion) in market value and the stock is down nearly 60 per cent so far this year. 

Don’t miss: The K-Pop Kings of BTS Are Taking a Break: Here’s Why

This caused Hybe to significantly underperform the broader equity benchmark as the future of BTS gets called into question. 

The K-pop group is credited with generating billions of dollars for the South Korean economy and announced that they would be taking a break as a group during their annual Festa dinner that marks their anniversary as a group.

The group spoke candidly about needing to explore their own passion projects without the constant recording and performing required of BTS.

“We should live doing what we want to do. We’ll probably die when we reach 100 and we can’t be BTS until then, I don’t think that’s an easy feat to achieve,” Suga said in the video. 

“The problem with K-pop and the whole idol system is that they don’t give you time to mature. You have to keep producing music and keep doing something,” said RM in Korean. He added that after many years of working, the group has lost its direction. 

However, the group emphasised in the video that they were not breaking up even though the group said they were going on hiatus, a term that representatives for the band later clarified in a statement. 

“To be clear, they are not on hiatus but will take time to explore some solo projects at this time and remain active in various different formats,” the statement said.

The group affirmed this by saying that they wanted BTS to go on for a long time but that for it to happen, they would need to take a step back and mature as individuals first. They added that lately, it has been a struggle to even come up with lyrics that mean something. 

The video of the dinner was posted to YouTube, where it has already garnered 14 million views. Hybe is reportedly set to continue seeing sharp declines in profits and revenues if BTS does not resume concerts this year. 

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