Ariana Grande and HYBE America Reportedly Part Ways Amid 1 Trillion Won Investment

Recent reports from the entertainment industry indicate that pop sensation Ariana Grande has decided to part ways with Scooter Braun, the CEO of HYBE America. The news comes after HYBE’s significant 1 trillion won investment and acquisition of Ariana Grande’s agency in 2021.

According to US Billboard’s report on the 21st, Ariana Grande and Scooter Braun have made the decision to go their separate ways. Ariana Grande had been associated with SB Projects, a subsidiary of Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings, since 2013. Speculations about a breakup between Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, another SB Projects artist, had also surfaced earlier, but representatives from both sides have denied these rumors, as per Billboard’s sources.

The departure of artists from Ithaca Holdings seems to be an ongoing trend. Ed Sheeran’s departure earlier this year and Demi Lovato’s reported search for a new company last month were among the signs of change. HYBE has yet to release an official statement regarding Ariana Grande’s contract termination. However, Scooter Braun took to Twitter on the 23rd with a humorous post that read, “Breaking news… I’m no longer managing myself.”

If Ariana Grande’s departure indeed materializes, HYBE’s massive 1 trillion won investment might face challenges. Reports had previously indicated that HYBE paid over three times the market value for the acquisition of Ithaca Holdings. This situation could lead to debates about whether the investment was justified without substantial collaboration and results.

HYBE’s initial intentions were to capitalize on synergies by securing a global lineup of artists through the acquisition of Ithaca Holdings. They also aimed to combine artist pools, share intellectual properties, and expand their business. However, meaningful collaborations between HYBE’s artists and the company have yet to fully materialize. There were speculations that these artists would join HYBE’s fan platform, Weverse, but so far, this hasn’t come to fruition. The only artist to make a virtual appearance on Weverse in 2022 was Justin Bieber.

HYBE America’s Chairman, Bang Si-hyuk, has previously stated that their main goal is to become a significant presence in the US music market. In line with this, Scooter Braun assumed the role of sole CEO for HYBE America earlier this year. He also made a notable move by acquiring QC Media Holdings, which houses renowned hip-hop artists such as Migos and Lil Baby, for 314 billion won.

Despite HYBE’s growth in size and expansion efforts, there seems to be a gap in translating this into substantial results. A Variety article questioned the situation, asking, “What’s happening in Scooter Braun’s empire?” The analysis suggested that despite the company’s increasing scale, its artists’ careers remained indirectly managed over the past few years.

Scooter Braun’s recent stock-selling activities also raised eyebrows. Reports highlighted that he sold a significant number of shares, realizing substantial profits. While these moves caused fluctuations in HYBE’s stock price, they only represented a fraction of the total shares.

As the news continues to unfold, the industry will be watching closely to see how HYBE’s investment in Ariana Grande and the future direction of the company will pan out.

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