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Founder of Kakao appears for questioning over suspected price rigging of SM shares

Kim Beom-su, the founder of tech giant Kakao Corp., appeared before prosecutors on Tuesday for questioning over alleged stock price manipulation connected to the firm's takeover of K-pop powerhouse SM Entertainment last year. Kim presented himself for questioning at the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office regarding his alleged involvement in manipulating SM shares. The investigation centers on suspicions that the mobile platform company and its executives manipulated SM stock prices in a bidding war it won in February last year against Hybe, the parent company of K-pop superband BTS' management agency BigHit, over the takeover of SM. SM shares were allegedly driven above 120,000 won (US$86.71) per share through alleged rigging, the fixed price at which Hybe was buying shares from investors. Hybe acquired a 14.8 percent stake in SM from its founder Lee Su-man. Hybe had offered to buy up SM shares from small shareholders at 120,000 won per share, but it later withdrew its takeover bid when SM shares significantly jumped. In March last year, Kakao and Kakao Entertainment became the controlling shareholder in SM Entertainment after acquiring a 39.87 percent stake in the agency. Source: Yonhap News Agency

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