South Korean Gaming Giant Planning to Buy Crypto Exchange Bithumb for $460 Million

Editor’s Note: Updated Jan. 10, 2021 at 12:30pm EST. This article has been updated to reflect comments by Nexon denying that it is in talks to acquire Bithumb.

Nexon, the South Korean multi-billion-dollar gaming conglomerate, is reportedly planning to buy a 65% stake in troubled crypto exchange Bithumb in a deal worth about 500 billion won ($460 million).

● According to local media reports, Nexon is to buy all the shares owned by Bithumb chairman Lee Jung Hoon, including several others totaling up to 65% of the exchange’s outstanding shares.

● The Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed video gaming giant has since signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the sellers to facilitate the transaction. The MoU was signed at the beginning of this month, said the reports.

● Nexon already owns two other crypto exchanges – Korbit, Korea’s third-largest exchange, and European exchange Bitstamp, which it acquired for around $80 million and $400 million, respectively, three years ago.

● However, Nexon’s spokesperson James Brown denied the firm had “plans to acquire that company (Bithumb)” nor had it invested in the exchange, he said by email on Jan. 9.

● Bithumb, Korea’s largest bitcoin exchange, has been rocked by issues of fraud involving top company staff. Authorities in the Asian country are currently investigating the platform for financial fraud involving $25 million.

● Lee Jung Hoon, the chairman, is accused of pocketing millions of dollars by selling Bithumb’s tokens to clients without listing them. As a result of the fraud case, the exchange was put up for sale last year.

● Founded in 1994, Nexon is a major player in the global gaming industry. Some of its most popular gaming titles include Dungeon & Fighter, Kart Rider, and Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds.

● Shares of Nexon were down 0.16% to 3,180 Japanese yen ($30.8) in Tokyo trading on Thursday. The company boasts a market capitalization of 2.82 trillion yen ($27.3 billion).

What do you think about Nexon acquiring a stake in Bithumb? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tags in this story
Bithumb acquisition, Bithumb crypto exchange, BitStamp, gaming industry, Korbit, Lee Hung Hoon, Nexon Group, South Korea

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