Is Lee Soo Man Leaving SM? Agency Releases Statement Regarding His Producer Contract Termination
SM Entertainment is considering the early termination of the producer contract with Like Planning. Like Planning is SM’s executive producer Lee Soo Man’s private company and SM’s largest shareholder.
On the 15th, SM released a statement that read, “We have been reviewing and discussing the producer contract with executive producer Lee Soo Man from various angles, and he has informed us that he wants to terminate the contract early at the end of this year.”
This decision appears to have been influenced by shareholders’ backlash against SM and Like Planning’s connection. SM has outsourced the music production to Like Planning and paid them tens of millions of dollars in royalties every year. Align Partners Capital Management, which owns a 1.1% stake in SM, has consistently requested the agency to come up with a remedial action related to Like Planning, noting that SM has paid 142.7 billion won (about $102 million) in royalties to Like Planning in the first three quarters of last year.
SM continued, “Producer Lee emphasized that now is the appropriate time for his producer contract to be terminated, and in his absence, he asks that the company’s board of directors draw up a plan for guaranteeing the future of SM Entertainment 50 years from now, with ambitious goals to raise the status of SM Entertainment to that of a global music and entertainment business.”
Finally, the label promised, “We will discuss with stakeholders about the early termination of the contract and find the best direction to strive to continue growing as a company leading the K-pop culture and industry.”