HYBE withdrew from the battle for management control of SM Entertainment. After that, suspicions emerged that IRONMACE, the developer of Dark and Darker, which is under investigation by the police in South Korea, may have a relationship with HYBE subsidiary HYBE IM. Regarding this, HYBE IM said, “HYBE IM CEO Jeong Woo-yong and outside director Jeong Sang-won personally invested 500,000 won. Discussions on collaboration between the two companies have been withdrawn.”
HYBE recently withdrew from the SM Entertainment management battle. However, while the SM Entertainment management rights war was in full swing, HYBE suddenly became an issue in the game industry. It was suspected that HYBE IM, a subsidiary of HYBE's game division, had invested in or had a relationship with IRONMACE, the developer of 'Dark and Darker'. For reference, IRONMACE is a game company that was seized and searched by the police due to Nexon's complaint. The key issue of the investigation is whether the developer of IRONMACE used the assets of 'P3', which Nexon was developing, to develop 'Dark and Darker'.
This is not a good story for HYBE. HYBE IM CEO Jeong Woo-yong is from Nexon, and HYBE CEO Park Ji-won is also from Nexon. In this situation, it is not good for HYBE to get involved with IRONMACE, a company that Nexon sued.
HYBE IM announced its official position on the 13th. HYBE IM said, “HYBE and HYBE affiliates did not invest in IRONMACE. HYBE IM CEO Jung Woo-yong made a deal with IRONMACE executives for 500,000 KRW(0.18% stake) as a personal friend.” He continued, "Chung Sang-won, who is currently serving as CEO at another company, made a transaction worth 500,000 KRW with the management of IRONMACE as a personal friend before establishing HYBE IM and appointing an outside director."
In summary, HYBE IM CEO Jung Woo-yong and outside director Jeong Sang-won had a personal relationship with IRONMACE's executives, so they only invested 500,000 KRW, but there was no investment at all at the company level.
In addition, HYBE IM said, “It is true that HYBE IM and IRONMACE have been considering cooperation from the end of 2022. However, discussions of collaboration have recently been withdrawn.” It is presumed that HYBE IM met with IRONMACE to discuss signing a publishing contract when ‘Dark and Darker’ was receiving attention on Steam. HYBE IM is actively promoting the game business by participating in G-Star 2022 and announcing new contracts.
Lastly, HYBE IM emphasized that CEO Jung Woo-yong's personal holding of a small stake is not a problem. HYBE IM said, “The collaboration discussion between IRONMACE and HYBE IM started at the end of 2022 at the request of HYBE. HYBE IM's game-related businesses are all under the control of HYBE. HYBE IM CEO Jeong Woo-yong had a very low stake due to personal acquaintance. And this happened before HYBE IM was established. Considering this point, it is not a problem that CEO Jung Woo-yong owns a stake.”
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