SB Projects founder Scooter Braun started his company with $1,400 he made from a summer job coaching basketball, and now, he’s closing deals that are in the billions.

Chief among them: the April 2021 merger between South Korean entertainment giant HYBE and Braun’s Ithaca Holdings, which houses SBP (whose management roster includes Justin Bieber, Ariana Grand and Demi Lovato), for over $1 billion. In the deal, Braun became co-CEO of HYBE U.S.

“I don’t know what I have built; I know what we have built,” said Braun at the Variety Business Managers Breakfast presented by City National Bank on Thursday (Nov. 18). “My name was on the door at SB Projects, but Ithaca was so much more than SB Projects. It was Big Machine [Label Group], it was Sandbox [Entertainment], it was Morris Higham — it was all these different businesses that we invested in. It’s on the backs and shoulders of so many brilliant people on this team, from my new partners to people that have been with me for over a decade.”

Globally, merging with HYBE was a logical next step for Ithaca, which already worked with artists and brands all over the world but didn’t have a corporate presence in areas outside the U.S.

“We were already a global company with the acts that we represent, with the shows and the content and the movies, but we didn’t have offices in Asia,” Braun said. “This allowed us to really have a global footprint. It changed the game for both of us.”

But the merger was creatively and personally motivated, too.

“It was more than just money. It allowed us to truly have a partnership with like-minded entrepreneurs,” Braun added. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for chairman Bang [Si-Hyuk], who I spent a lot of time on Zooms [with] during COVID, getting to know each other and creating this deal together. I think he’s brilliant. I think he’s a great entrepreneur, and very thoughtful. And the thing that I liked is that when [Big Hit Entertainment] did go public, he took care of all the guys in [K-pop band] BTS, and all his employees.”

The generosity he saw in Bang inspired Braun to do the same.

“When we did this deal, I carved out a certain amount of stock and gave it to not only the artists, but all the people who helped us along the way,” he said. “Employees and former employees. And where we go from here is that we’re able to create a lot of new business, a lot of new synergies. I think we’ll go over other acquisitions and other new partners.”

“We’re so diverse now as a company on a global scale,” he continued. “And our No. 1 priority is giving artists the rights that they deserve. The power they deserve in this thing we call the music business. Making sure that their voices are heard. And by aggregating all this power together, we’re able to really assist the creatives in making sure that what they need to get done gets done.”