Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb, the largest in the country by daily trading volume, has sold a 38 percent stake in its business for $354 million to a Singaporean investment group, reported Reuters on October 12, 2018.
Bithumb Sells Stake to Plastic Surgeon
BK Global Consortium purchased 50 percent plus one share in Bithumb’s largest shareholder BTC Holdings for 400 billion won ($354 million), amounting to 38 percent ownership of the exchange.
Singapore-based BK Global Consortium is a blockchain investment group that is led by former plastic surgeon and startup investor, Kim Byung-gun. Kim runs Singapore-based BK Medical Group which owns and manages plastic and aesthetic clinics in Singapore and South Korea. He has also established himself as a startup investor in the blockchain sector.
A BK Global Consortium spokesperson said:
“Kim Byung-gun demonstrated his multinational management ability in the field of medical care, fintech, and blockchain in Singapore. He is the right person to pursue the systemization and globalization of the virtual currency exchange.”
Bithumb’s revenue and operating profit reached W303bn ($268 million) and W218bn ($192 million) in the first half of 2018, according to semiannual reports of BTC Holdings. H1/2018 net profit stood at W40bn ($35 million).
According to local media, the BK Global Consortium wants to capitalize on the exchange’s potential by applying its blockchain-based e-commerce settlement system and a dollar-linked stablecoin to reduce commissions on the existing settlement system.
Kim also announced plans for Bithumb to launch a decentralized exchange (DEX) through a Hong Kong-based subsidiary to access more international investors and to prevent a loss of funds due to hacks, which have become a significant issue for Korean exchanges, including Bithumb. In June 2018, Bithumb fell victim to a cyber attack, which led to a loss of $31 million worth of cryptocurrency.
When the acquisition transaction is complete, Kim is expected to takeover Bithumb for a total of $880 million.
More M&A in Crypto to be Expected
The Bithumb purchase is one of many acquisitions that have occurred this year as the M&A wave has started in this new but booming industry.
The most notable M&A transactions in the blockchain industry this year have been the Coinbase acquisition of Earn.com for $100 million, Tron’s purchase of BitTorrent, and Binance’s acquisition of Trust Wallet.