One of the most influential crypto exchanges might be sold as South Korean market-leader Bithumb is reportedly looking for a buyer.
As announce by Herald Kyungjae, undisclosed investment banking references have informed the media outlet that Bithumb operator Bithumb Holdings is actively searching for a way out of the market. The holding firm holds a 74% stake in the exchange and will look for up to USD 602 million for sale – with a minimum price of USD 430 million, per the media outlets sources.
They declare that the holding company has selected the accounting firm Samjong KPMG, a joint-venture operation co-run by “Big Four” accounting firm KPMG, to broker the sale.
Nevertheless, selling Bithumb will prove far from easy – regulatory issues could spook some buyers, with virtual asset service providers (VASPs) set to fall under strict new policing measures as of March next year.
Bithumb’s ownership is also best with obstacles. A failed sale of the company to the BK Group, headed by one of South Korea’s most prominent plastic surgeons, ended with BK reneging on payment for a controlling share of Bithumb’s stocks.
Moreover, the police have reportedly captured a portion of Bithumb shares belonging to the firm’s chairman Lee Jong-hoon – who has purportedly been investigated on fraud and embezzlement charges. An active police investigation into BK, its chairman Kim Byung-gun, and Lee’s alleged involvement in a token named BXA is ongoing.
Although, one unnamed investment banking official stated that the debate over management rights and a conflict of interests among shareholders due to Bithumb’s complex governance structure “has been holding Bithumb back for a long time” – and the current owners now want to wash their hands of the firm.
The media outlet continued that would-be buyers have already begun examining the possibility of a takeover, with “several parties submitting letters of intent” earlier this month, indicating that a sale could be imminent.
The exchange’s 24-hour volume figures stand at just under USD 261 million, data provided by CoinMarketCap data.