HYBE fully acquires K-pop agency Belift Lab from CJ ENM

Boy band Enhypen, managed by Belift Lab, performing in a showcase on May 22 [NEWS1]

HYBE will buy CJ ENM's 51.5 percent share of the companies' jointly-built K-pop agency Belift Lab for 150 billion won ($113.8 million), the agency said Thursday.

HYBE, the agency behind BTS and Seventeen, signed an agreement on Thursday to purchase 742,200 shares of Belift Lab from CJ ENM, the entertainment company that operates cable channel Mnet. The deal is set to close on Sept. 1 and Belift Lab will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of HYBE.

Belift Lab was founded in September 2018 to jointly nurture and manage a newly-debuting boy band from Mnet's audition program "I-LAND" which aired in 2020. Kim Tae-ho, the chief operating officer of HYBE, sits as the CEO.

The resulting boy band, Enhypen, debuted in November 2020 and has been managed by Belift Lab ever since. The band sold 1.32 million copies of its latest album "Dark Blood" during the first week of its release last May. The band's previous album "Manifesto : Day 1" (2022) sold 1.24 million copies within the first week of its release, which was a record for the group at the time.

Enhypen is currently on its "Fate" world tour and is set to hold two concerts in Osaka on Sept. 2 and 3 and in Tokyo on Sept. 13 and 14.

The purchase is meant to fortify HYBE's "multi-label" system, under which the K-pop agency owns multiple music labels to maximize its diversity while keeping the individual characteristics of each subsidiary, according to HYBE.

"HYBE will support Belift Lab and its artists to the fullest," said HYBE CEO Park Ji-won in a press release. "Even after the stock purchase, we will continue our partnership with CJ ENM."

Belift Lab is currently working to debut a new girl group in partnership with another cable channel, JTBC.

A new audition program titled "R U Next?" started airing on June 30 to have potential stars compete for a spot in Belift Lab's new girl group. The resulting girl group will be managed by Belift Lab.