According to an exclusive StarNews investigation, Blockberry Creative, the agency of K-pop girl group Loona, is embroiled in an ownership dispute.
In 2017, the Japanese IT company Donuts struck a branding deal with Polaris for "MyLive", an entertainer audition app, but the deal did not progress well.
The Donuts branding deal involved Polaris Entertainment, the parent company of Blockberry, to rent out a portion of the entertainer trainee academy (music training facility) that it operates in the Shinsa-dong neighborhood of Seoul's Gangnam District, and for Donuts to pay 400 million KRW in deposit and 10 million KRW per month in service fees. The contracting parties were Donuts, Ilgwang Polaris (now Polaris Entertainment), and Lee Jong-myeong. Lee Jong-myeong was named on the contract as a joint guarantor for the obligation for the deposit to be returned.
The contract term expired on October 28, 2018. Through a deposit return lawsuit from 2019 against Polaris, Donuts won a court order to receive back the deposit with interest. However, despite the court decision, Polaris has yet to return the deposit and interest. Joint guarantor Lee Jong-myeong is also refusing to take responsibility, citing a lack of assets.
Thus in 2017, in order to preserve its right to monetary claims against Lee Jong-myeong who is not only the joint guarantor on the 2017 contract but also known as the de facto owner of Polaris and Blockberry, Donuts has filed a lawsuit to return the stock owned by Kim Seon-hye, Lee's wife and Blockberry's current chair, into Lee Jong-myeong's ownership.
The pleading filed by Donuts claims that Lee Jong-myeong has placed Blockberry stock in a name trust with his wife Kim Seon-hye, and that the actual owner of that stock is Lee. Donuts is demanding that Lee break the stock's name trust agreement, and carry out the change on Blockberry's shareholder register to transfer the stock back under Lee's name.
However, Lee Jong-myeong is not complying with this. As a result Donuts, as the creditor, has now requested the change in shareholder register on Lee's behalf, in order to preserve Lee's executable property.
Donuts asserts that Blockberry has an obligation to carry out the register change and transfer the stock into Lee's name.
If Donuts' lawsuit is admitted, chair Kim Seon-hye's stock will be entirely transferred to be under Lee Jong-myeong's ownership. This is expected to have significant impact on Kim's share of Blockberry ownership.
Previously, Donuts won a recent lawsuit for repayment of investment funds against Loona's agency Blockerry and Polaris, receiving back over 4 billion KRW in investment principal and interest.
Loona, consisting of 12 members (Heejin, Hyunjin, Haseul, Yeojin, Vivi, Kim Lip, Jinsoul, Choerry, Yves, Chuu, Go Won, Olivia Hye), is a global star group garnering popularity both domestically and abroad.