‘Squid Game’ actor-held stocks see prices soar on political connections

 

Lee Jung-jae, right, who starred in Nextflix series 'Squid Game,' poses with President Yoon Suk Yeol, center, and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos at the presidential residence in Seoul,  Feb. 17. Yonhap

Lee Jung-jae, right, who starred in Nextflix series “Squid Game,” poses with President Yoon Suk Yeol, center, and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos at the presidential residence in Seoul, Feb. 17. Yonhap

By Yi Whan-woo

Raemongraein, a Kosdaq-listed drama studio, keeps setting new highs this year with the April 10 general elections getting closer, as it is considered to be a politically-themed stock based on the relationship between actor Lee Jung-jae and ruling party interim leader Han Dong-hoon.

According to the Korea Exchange (KRX), Raemongraein surged 29.94 percent to close at 19,400 won ($14.70) a share, Wednesday.

This marked the highest price this year, surpassing the previous record of 14,930 won set a day earlier.

The bullish run followed the company’s announcement that it raised 29 billion won in funds through a paid-in capital increase.

The strategy is used to raise money by issuing shares to new investors, which, in the case of Raemongraein, Lee, the lead actor in the all-time Netflix hit “Squid Game,” and Wider Planet, a big data-driven marketing company controlled by Lee, bought shares through paid-in capital.

A total of 1.81 million shares were purchased by Wider Planet, to become Raemongraein’s biggest shareholder. Another 503,524 shares were acquired by Lee.

Minister of Justice Han Dong-hoon, right, takes a photo with actor Lee Jung-jae at a restaurant in southern Seoul on Nov. 26, 2023. Image captured from a posting on X

Minister of Justice Han Dong-hoon, right, takes a photo with actor Lee Jung-jae at a restaurant in southern Seoul on Nov. 26, 2023. Image captured from a posting on X

The paid-in capital increase was a plus factor for investor sentiment, as Lee increasingly drew attention for having attended the same high school as Han, the interim chief of the ruling People Power Party (PPP).

The public rating for the PPP has been on the up under Han’s leadership, while Lee-related stocks enjoyed a surge after a photo of the two smiling while dining together in November 2023 went viral.

The stocks included Wider Planet and Daesang Corp., a food conglomerate where Lee’s girlfriend Lim Se-ryung is an heiress.

Lee also drew attention for having a luncheon with President Yoon Suk Yeol and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos during Sarandos’ Korea trip in February.

Lee Jung-jae, center, in a scene from Korean series 'Squid Game' / AP-Yonhap

Lee Jung-jae, center, in a scene from Korean series “Squid Game” / AP-Yonhap

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