ADOR to hold board meeting Friday amid dispute with Hybe

May 8, 2024

ADOR, a sublabel of K-pop powerhouse Hybe, will hold a critical board meeting Friday in what is expected to mark a decisive moment in the protracted conflict between the sublabel’s CEO and Hybe.

Sources in the music industry said Tuesday the meeting will take place at 9 a.m. Friday at an undisclosed place in downtown Seoul.

Convening an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting is on the agenda of the upcoming board meeting, according to other media reports.

Earlier, the lawyer for Min Hee-jin, CEO of ADOR, told reporters shortly after a court hearing last Tuesday that the board of directors would convene a board meeting by May 10 and an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting by the end of the month.

Min Hee-jin, CEO of ADOR, is seen in this file photo provided by the company. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
Min Hee-jin, CEO of ADOR, is seen in this file photo provided by the company. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

This schedule, unveiled by Min’s side, is about one to two weeks faster than Hybe’s plan to call an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting with court permission, indicating her determination to maintain control of the issue.

On Tuesday, Min filed for an injunction against Hybe’s voting rights at the upcoming shareholders’ meeting, as the K-pop agency behind BTS moves to dismiss the ADOR CEO at the gathering.

“Hybe’s argument that I was engaged in breach of trust is groundless. I filed the injunction (with the Seoul Central District Court) to protect the value of artists at ADOR and the company,” Min said.

It remains unknown what agenda ADOR will bring to the shareholders’ meeting and exactly when and where it will take place.

The court may intervene in the conflict by accepting Hybe’s request to call one to discuss the replacement of the label’s management if the board refuses to discuss the matter during the shareholders’ meeting.

The board meeting comes as the two sides continue to exchange salvos in the ongoing conflict over allegations that the current management of the sublabel, home to popular girl group NewJeans, attempted to take over control of the company.

Hybe currently holds an 80 percent stake in ADOR while the label’s management holds the remaining 20 percent.

The K-pop giant launched a surprise audit against Min on April 22 and filed a complaint against her three days later, accusing her of having plotted with other executives to separate from Hybe and take NewJeans with her.

Min has denied the allegations and claimed that the audit followed her internal whistleblowing.

After Min rejected Hybe’s demand to convene a board meeting by April 30 to discuss the possible replacement of the label’s management, citing the illegality of the demand for replacement, Hybe requested a Seoul court’s permission to bypass the board to convene an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting.

Considering the schedule earlier unveiled by Min’s lawyer, the meeting is highly likely to be held between Monday and Thursday next week.

ADOR’s board of directors consists of three members — CEO Min herself, the deputy CEO and another director, identified only by their family names Shin and Kim, respectively. This setup effectively grants Min control over the board.

The music scene is paying attention to the fact that NewJeans are scheduled to return with a new single on May 24.

Industry sources say public opinion sympathetic to Min could be generated if she, who produced NewJeans, is dismissed from her position during a shareholders’ meeting likely to closely follow the group’s return.

Also on Tuesday, Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency Commissioner Cho Ji-ho said that police will swiftly conduct an investigation into suspicions of breach of duty that Hybe filed against Min.

“Given the public attention, the police will expedite the investigation more closely than other cases and provide explanations on matters of interest,” Cho said.

The Seoul police chief said that the police are currently in the process of reviewing related records, and no individuals have been questioned in connection with the investigation so far.

This undated file photo shows an exterior view of the Hybe building in central Seoul. (Yonhap)
This undated file photo shows an exterior view of the Hybe building in central Seoul. (Yonhap)