After a Spin-Off to Focus on Startups, The Uncle of the Producer of "Baby Shark" sees his Fortune Triple
Thanks to a spin-off to focus on investing in startups, clothing entrepreneur Kim Chang-net soo's worth has tripled to $2.1 billion, catapulting him to the ranks of the country's 20 wealthiest persons less than a year after debuting on Forbes' Korea Rich List.
F&F, Kim's Korea-listed firm, broke off its primary garment business, which includes the MLB and Discovery Expedition brands, last month. On May 21, the spin-off firm, F&F Co. Ltd., was listed on the Korea Exchange. Since then, its stock has risen approximately 15% as investors have become more bullish about its garment businesses as a result of the spin-off.
The remaining firm, F&F Holdings, has been rebranded and will now focus on investing in other businesses. Its stock has dropped about 50% since it began trading following the listing of its spin-off business, which was delayed on April 28. F&F Holdings' stock has steadied in recent weeks and is still up 90 percent year to date.
With a 45 percent interest in each firm, Kim, 60, is the largest shareholder of F&F Co. Ltd. and F&F Holdings. On the Real-Time Billionaires List, he ranks No. 18 among Korea's billionaires, only behind LG Chairman Koo Kwang-mo and Naver cofounder Lee Hae-jin, with a net worth of $2.1 billion.
F&F Holdings looks to be serious about investing in startups, but investors are more hopeful about F&F Co. Ltd.'s clothes industry. F&F Holdings created F&F Partners, an investment company, a month after deciding to split off its clothes division. F&F Partners has invested a total of more than 3.9 billion won (about $3.5 million) in three content-production startups: BambooNetwork, Channel OCT, and WhyNot Media, according to Korean startup financing portal The VC.
On March 26, F&F Holdings named Park Eui-heon, the former CEO of Korean financial behemoth Meritz Financial Group, as its new CEO, succeeding Kim.
Min-seok, Kim's nephew, is also a wealthy businessman. Min-seok is the creator of the viral "Baby Shark Dance" video, which has amassed 8.7 billion views, making it YouTube's most popular video. The two-minute earworm about a family of sharks, which was launched in 2016, became the most-viewed YouTube video in November of last year, surpassing Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito." Min-seok cofounded online education business SmartStudy in 2010, with two former colleagues from Korean game businesses Nexon and NHN, and launched "Baby Shark Dance."