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K-pop agency shares fall after antitrust probe report

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SEOUL, July 5 (Reuters) – South Korea’s antitrust watchdog began investigating potential violations of subcontracting when it outsources production of albums and merchandise, and shares in K-pop’s governing body fell on Wednesday, Yonhap news agency reported.

Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) sends investigators to HYBE offices (352820.KS)SM Entertainment (041510.KQ) and YG Entertainment (122870.KQ) On Tuesday, Yonhap news agency quoted unnamed industry sources as saying.

Yonhap said the KFTC was investigating whether the agencies engaged in any conduct with subcontractors, such as failure to issue written verbal contracts, unfair contracts or delayed payments. No specific charges have been laid.

KFTC declined to comment on any specific investigations.

HYBE, SM and YG did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Shares of HYBE, the management arm of K-pop star BTS, fell 2.1% in early trade, while the broader market was flat (.KS11). Shares in SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment were also down 1.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, as of 0015 GMT, though YG has since reversed losses.

HYBE reported sales of 410.6 billion won ($315.9 million) for the January-March quarter; 44.9 percent of that came from albums and 16.8 percent from merchandise and intellectual property, according to a Tuesday report from Shinhan Investment & Securities.

(1 USD = 1,300.0000 KRW)

Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Huang

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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