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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

HYBE (f.k.a. Big Hit), the South Korean entertainment group whose artists include BTS, agreed to buy Ithaca Holdings, the music and entertainment firm founded and led by Scooter Braun.

Why it matters: This is Ithaca taking another giant step away from its high-profile spat with Taylor Swift, and creates a global music management and production powerhouse. Plus, it could bestow some K-Pop cred on Ithaca artists like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.

Details: Axios has learned the deal values Ithaca north of $1 billion, with minority Ithaca investor The Carlyle Group to exit completely. Braun will join the HYBE board, while Scott Borchetta will continue to be CEO of record label subsidiary Big Machine.

Music bonus: Axios Re:Cap spoke with Steve Stoute, CEO of UnitedMasters, the music distribution platform that just raised cash from Apple (in part to disintermediate groups like HYBE and Ithaca). Take a listen.

Bottom line: "BTS and Bieber alone bring dedicated fanbases numbering in the hundreds of millions, while Grande recently surpassed 90 billion streams consumed worldwide." — Shirley Halperin & Patrick Frater, Variety

Go deeper

Apr 1, 2021 - Podcasts

Music industry exec Steve Stoute on moving past record labels

UnitedMasters, a music distribution platform that feels a little like Substack for singers, on Thursday raised $50 million from investors including Apple (which almost never invests in startups).

Axios Re:Cap talks with UnitedMasters CEO Steve Stoute, known for producing albums by artists like Nas and Mariah Carey, about his company, the uncertain future of record labels and why it's important for musicians to own their own music.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.