January 28, 2021

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Nexon May Acquire Bithumb at $460 Million Valuation

2 min read

South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb may soon see a new owner if a 500 billion won ($460 million) bid goes through, local publication Maekyung reported Thursday.

Korean firm Nexon, known for developing popular games like KartRider and publishing Need For Speed Online, is preparing the mammoth bid for Bithumb and plans to acquire over 65% of the firm, the report said.

As such, Nexon is getting a favourable deal as well. The report said that Bithumb’s old shares trade at a 1 trillion won ($900 million) valuation in over-the-counter markets, meaning Nexon would acquire the firm at a significantly discounted rate.

Bithumb has been looking to sell a major stake since August 2020. It selected Samjong KPMG, a top audit company, and tapped both domestic and foreign private equity fund (PEF) managers at the time, the report said. Even crypto exchange Huobi was reportedly interested.

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However, the sale was delayed amidst turmoil in Bithumb’s top corporate board. As per reports last year, Lee Jung Hoon, the chairman of its holding firm, was investigated and arrested by authorities on allegations of token fraud, securities scams, and market manipulation. The case is still ongoing.

But despite that, Bithumb maintains its position as Korea’s top crypto exchange. The firm traded over $2.6 billion yesterday as per analytics site CoinGecko, and offers over 129 cryptocurrencies to clients.

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Bithumb’s acquisition would be Nexon’s third crypto exchange purchase. Its parent firm, NXMH, has previously picked up crypto exchanges Korbit and Bitstamp, with the Nexon management said to develop future plans for integrating cryptocurrencies within its retail game lineup.

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