Bang Si-hyuk’s net worth: Fortune explored as court orders HYBE to pay Min Hee-jin $14.5M in compensation on injunction violation

Bang Si-hyuk’s net worth and HYBE to pay Min Hee-jin $14.5M in compensation. (Image via GETTY/Photographer: Jean Chung/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Bang Si-hyuk’s net worth and HYBE to pay Min Hee-jin $14.5M in compensation. (Image via GETTY/Photographer: Jean Chung/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

As of May 30, 2024, Forbes reported that Bang Si-hyuk, the founder and chairman of HYBE, a well-known music label and entertainment agency in Korea, has a net worth of $1.8 billion. Bang Si-hyuk aka Bang PD became the first millionaire in the K-pop business after his strategic expansion by opening HYBE via IPO.

HYBE's incredible year propelled Bang Si-hyuk's fortune on the 2024 Forbes list of Korea's 50 Richest, despite BTS' absence due to their mandatory military service.

Meanwhile, on May 30, the Seoul Central District Court gave its final verdict on the ongoing HYBE versus Min Hee-jin injunction. The court stated that although the latter did conspire to loosen HYBE's grip over ADOR and planned for a takeover, she had failed to take any action over her intentions. Hence, she cannot be dismissed as the CEO of ADOR until her contract expires with HYBE.

This means that HYBE cannot exercise its majority voting rights during the shareholders meeting on May 31, to remove Min Hee-jin from her position. However, the corporation can terminate her contract before its expiry if it agrees to pay compensation of $14.5 million to Min Hee-jin as stated in her agreement with HYBE.

HYBE prohibited from exercising its voting rights; Min Hee-jin still loses her CEO powers over ADOR

According to Seoul Law Group, as to the dismissal laws in South Korea, if an employee causes damage to the firm due to embezzlement, theft, breach of trust, or major accident, among other reasons, the court will still find justification for the dismissal. This stands firm even if the individual receives compensation for all the harm their embezzlement has caused.

This further simplifies the court's verdict carried out on May 30, 2024, that even though Min Hee-jin won her injunction and prohibited HYBE from exercising its voting rights, she lost a majority of her power on ADOR for causing irreparable damage to HYBE. For the unversed, Min Hee-jin was accused of breach of trust and illegal trading of company secrets.

She had filed an injunction against HYBE to stop them from removing her as ADOR CEO. Furthermore, Min Hee-jin accused Bang Si-hyuk of unfair treatment and discrimination towards NewJeans. She also alleged that Bang Si-hyuk suggested she inflate NewJeans' album sales by 100,000 copies. Meanwhile, the criminal case (investigative lawsuit) against Min Hee-jin is still ongoing which Bang Si-hyuk and HYBE intend to see through and the court has approved it.

Brendon Carr, Senior Foreign Counsel at HHC Employment & Labor Law, stated that according to Article 385 of the Korean Commercial Code, a registered director or CEO may be removed from office at any time and for any cause by a 2/3 supermajority resolution of the shareholders.

Carr continued that Article 385 also states if a director/CEO is removed from their position without providing "good cause" before the end of their contract, they are entitled to compensation equal to the amount of the salary they would have received for the remaining portion of their appointed term. Hence, HYBE would have to pay Min Hee-jin $14.5 million in compensation.

According to Kookmin Ilbo, the court said even though Min Hee-jin (Min) may have betrayed HYBE, however, it is difficult to state if she had a breach of trust towards ADOR. Meanwhile, Korea Economic Daily reported that the court noted and highlighted Min Hee-jin's attempt to "dominate" ADOR by "pressuring" HYBE to sell its 80% owned shares of ADOR.

"CEO Min weakened HYBE's control over ADOR by leaving the scope of HYBE's control with NewJeans or by pressuring HYBE to sell ADOR's shares held by HYBE, and CEO Min independently controlled ADOR. It is clear that they were looking for a way to dominate.” the court noted. (as reported by Korea Economic Daily)

Netizens believe compensating & removing Min Hee-jin given Bang Si-hyuk's net worth and HYBE's profits is beneficial

Notably, Bang Si-hyuk's real-time net worth as of May 30, 2024, is over $1.8 billion including the current increase of $45 million. After the court's verdict today, netizens believe that the best course of action would be to remove Min Hee-jin from her position as CEO of ADOR by compensating her given Bang Si-hyuk and HYBE's current revenue status.

Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC) states that if the board has resolved that the concerned director/CEO is no longer eligible or qualified or has violated the company laws under section 69 of the Act in the memorandum of incorporation (MOI) is subjected to dismissal.

However, it is crucial to note that a court order pertaining to the approval of the removal decree is necessary to carry out the removal during a shareholders' meeting.

"An order of the court confirming the resolution of the board or removing the director from office if the court is satisfied that the director is ineligible or disqualified, incapacitated, or has been negligent or derelict."

Korea Economic Daily reported that HYBE, founded and chaired by Bang Si-hyuk, plans to appeal to the Supreme Court and take follow-up measures by staying within the law. They also mentioned that they would respect the court's verdict and would refrain from exercising their voting rights during the shareholders' meeting on May 31, 2024.

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