SM Entertainment has revealed that they are considering terminating the production contract with former CEO Lee Soo Man‘s company Like Planning. It’s significant in the sense that for years SME has been giving the company millions upon millions for their services, something that has gotten them in trouble with their stakeholders, and things may be coming to a head on that soon.
On September 15, SM Entertainment announced, “We are considering whether to terminate the production contract with Producer Lee Soo Man’s personal company ‘Like Planning’ early.” The agency continued, “Music executive Lee Soo Man has expressed to SM that he wants to terminate the contract early by the end of this year. We plan to discuss in depth with key stakeholders the impact of an early termination of the production contract, how it will affect our business and to summarize our position on the future direction and announce it at a later date.”
The main stakeholder up in arms this time is Align Partners and they have cited that SME has paid Like Planning over ~$100 million since its inception.
Based on reports, it seems like the writing is on the wall a bit.
The reason I said this is “back again” in the title is that mess involving Like Planning has happened before. Back in 2018 it was revealed that SME was paying the company millions a year for “producing” and there were suspicions it was a way paying LSM directly from company coffers. The company denied this at the time, and they did the same a year later in 2019 when it was brought up again. Of course none of this mattered for the most part, but SME was forced to respond after major stakeholders called for transparency, and they eventually appeared to give into demands but really just said they would think about it. At the time, the stock price bled because of it, but one had to assume that was of little concern for LSM compared to having millions in cash flow annually.
So we’ve been down this road before, and I’m hesitant to believe reports that the ties are dead until I get to see the body, but this certainly seems like the closest things have gotten to having this “contract” gravy train come to a close (at least in its current form).