Sale of Korea’s pioneering crypto exchange Bithumb may hit snag due to shriveled worth

2021.06.08 11:58:39 | 2021.06.08 13:56:58

[Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]이미지 확대

[Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]

The sale of Bithumb Korea Co., operator of the country’s pioneering crypto exchange Bithumb, may hit a snag as its worth has shrunk by half in less than two months from its peak level due to a plunge in the prices of bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Bithumb Korea shares were reportedly priced at 300,000 won ($269.71) apiece in an after-hour block sale of a 1 billion won stake held by SBI investment to a Hong Kong-based private equity firm on Monday.

The pricing was made by valuation of 1.27 trillion won for the company’s 4,230,569 outstanding shares.

Two months ago, Bithumb Korea’s market cap was estimated at 2.9 trillion won during bitcoin frenzy.

When the bitcoin price topped $64,000 on April 14, shares of Bithumb surged to 690,000 won in just two days from 393,000 won at Korea’s OTC market Seoul Exchange. The shares then plummeted to the 300,000 won level with the price declines at the end of April and further to 277,000 won as of Monday.

In industry rank, Bithumb has been outpaced by latecomer Upbit. Its former chairman faces investigations over fraud allegations.

Lee Jung-hoon, former chairman of Bithumb Korea, allegedly promised to list new coin dubbed BXA on Bithumb earlier and sold the unlisted coins to investors. The BXA remained unlisted.

Still, interest in Bithumb deal is still strong with candidates including Morgan Stanley, Visa, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank. Gaming firms like NXC, the holding company of Nexon, and Wemade also are among the bidders.

By Ahn Gab-seong and Lee Ha-yeon

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