Star Xu, founder of exchange services provider OKCoin and the world’s second-largest crypto exchange OKEx, has bought a controlling share in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed firm for around $60 million. The deal was disclosed by the acquired firm, LEAP Holdings Group, on Jan. 23.
Following the deal’s completion on Jan. 14., OKCoin’s parent firm OKC Holdings Corp. became the controlling shareholder in LEAP Holdings — a Caymans Island-incorporated construction engineering firm, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX).
Having purchased roughly 3.2 billion shares at HK$0.15 (~$0.02) apiece — at a total cost of $483,890,536 (~$61.6 million) — OKC Holdings Corp. owns 60.49 percent of Leap Holdings’ stock, with the same percentage of voting rights. Xu notably owns the majority stake in OKC Holdings (52.32 percent) via his two wholly-owned firms, StarXu Capital and OKEM Services Company.
OKC Holdings Corp.’s acquisition has the apparent hallmarks of being a reverse takeover — also known as a reverse initial public offering (IPO), or backdoor listing.
The route allows a privately held company to purchase a publicly traded company — thereby bypassing at least some of the bureaucratic scrutiny involved in the process of going public, including regulatory issues and due diligence. Upon completion of the deal, the buyer gains automatic inclusion on the relevant stock exchange.
Other crypto industry firms to have opted for a reverse takeover include crypto exchange Huobi — which acquired controlling stock interest in an HKEX-listed electronics firm last summer — and Mike Novogratz, who opted for the route in order to secure a listing on Toronto’s TSX Venture Exchange for his crypto-focused merchant bank Galaxy Digital.
As reported, OKEx launched a new crypto derivative product in late December, dubbed “Perpetual Swap,” which allows users to speculate on the future value of BTC/USD, with up to 100x leverage. This month, the exchange added seven new trading pairs for its perpetual swap contracts, including Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP).
OKEx is currently the world’s second-largest crypto exchange by adjusted daily trade volumes, seeing about $382 million in trades on the day to press time.