Digital Assets: Amidst Bitcoin’s Moonshot, Crypto Exchanges Are Wheeling-Dealing
Bakkt may merge. Troubled Bithumb could be bought.
A Bloomberg report said today, citing anonymous sources, that crypto trading exchange Bakkt was negotiating a deal to go public through a merger with blank-check company VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings (NASDAQ: VIH). At the other end of the globe, Nexon (TYO: 3659), the South Korean multi-billion-dollar gaming conglomerate, is negotiating to buy out a controlling stake in Bithumb, Korea’s largest bitcoin and crypto exchange. (Bitcoin.com)
The Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE) owns the majority of Bakkt. VPC is affiliated with the alternative investment firm Victory Park Capital.
VPC is a special purpose acquisition vehicle (a SPAC, a.k.a blank-check company). A SPAC company is listed, has no operations but is looking to acquire an existing company. Chief executive John Martin said the company’s objective was to “identify, partner with, and help grow a business in the fintech sector.”
According to Bloomberg, the merger deal between Bakkt and VPC was in an advanced stage. Furthermore, it could be announced as early as next week.
If the merger is consummated, the resulting entity could be valued north of $2 billion.
Local media reports have revealed that Nexon, the Tokyo-listed South Korean multi-billion-dollar gaming conglomerate, is negotiating to buy a 65% interest in crypto exchange Bithumb. Reports also claimed that Nexon founder Kim Jung-ju had joined hands with Vidente, a major shareholder in Bithumb, to acquire the managerial rights of Bithumb Korea.
An MoU had already been signed, the reports said.
If the deal comes through, Bithumb would become the third crypto exchange to be owned by Nexon. The gaming giant already owns Korbit, Korea’s third-largest exchange, and European exchange Bitstamp.
In September, DailyAlts reported that Bithumb was on the block. Bithumb Holdings, its holding company, owns 74% of the exchange and had appointed Samjong KPMG to conduct the disposal of its stake.
The exchange has already been raided twice by the Seoul Metropolitan Police.
Apparently, chairman Lee Jong-hoon is under a cloud for fraud and embezzlement charges.
However, Vidente has denied news reports that the company is in talks with Nexon to jointly take over a controlling stake in Bithumb.
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