SM Entertainment was acquired by Kakao, South Korea's web service giant, in March 2023 through a head-to-head competition with HYBE. The BTS agency withdrew from the competition after about one month of a dispute over management rights but decided to continue the collaboration between the two companies.
HYBE explained: "We have determined that the price that needs to be offered for the acquisition of SM has exceeded the appropriate range, as the competitive landscape intensifies with Kakao's additional public offering and even the stock market shows signs of overheating." Kakao said that the company and Kakao Entertainment have agreed to continue various collaborative relationships as partners that positively impact each other with HYBE and SM Entertainment.
Kakao and Kakao Entertainment, the entertainment wing of Kakao, said in a joint statement that 12 official communities for SM artists will be created in Weverse by September 2023 to create communication channels between artists and fans. Fans would be able to purchase SM's official fan items including albums and apparel from Weverse's online store.
Weverse was kick-started in 2019 as an online fan community for ARMY, BTS' global fan community. Currently, the online fan community platform is the home for some 20 artists mainly from HYBE and its sub-labels. Major artists including the super rookie girl band New Jeans, and BLACKPINK have online communities on Weverse but it would be the first time for SM artists to enter Weverse.
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