IOK Com­pany seeks to ac­quire Bithumb

The Korea Times - - FINANCE - By Park Jae-hyuk [email protected]­re­

IOK Com­pany said Mon­day it has be­gun mov­ing to ac­quire Bithumb, the na­tion’s big­gest crypto ex­change.

With cash­able as­sets worth 100 bil­lion won ($86.1 mil­lion), IOK is an en­ter­tain­ment agency which rep­re­sents ac­tress Go Hyun-jung, ac­tor Jo In-sung, singers Moon Hee-joon, Tony An and Lee Jae­won, and co­me­di­ans Lee Youngja and Kim Sook.

The en­ter­tain­ment agency seeks to be­come the de facto largest share­holder of the crypto ex­change, through its in­vest­ment in Vi­dente, one of the de­vel­op­ers of Bithumb, which will hold a 32.74 per­cent stake in BTC Hold­ing Com­pany, the hold­ing firm of Bithumb. If Vi­dente holds the stake, it can be the largest share­holder of BTC Hold­ing Com­pany.

IOK ac­quired Vi­dente’s con­vert­ible bond worth 2.5 bil­lion won Oct. 30. A con­vert­ible bond is a type of bond that can be con­verted into a pre­de­ter­mined num­ber of com­mon stock or eq­uity shares

If IOK con­verts the bond and an­other one worth 42.2 bil­lion won that it ac­quired Oct. 23, IOK will hold an 18.04 per­cent stake in Vi­dente.

The amount will sur­pass that of BT.ONE, a blockchain plat­form com­pany which is an­other share­holder of Vi­dente. BT.ONE will have a 17.9 per­cent stake in Vi­dente, as it will in­ject 55 bil­lion won into Vi­dente on Nov. 15 for its cap­i­tal in­crease.

IOK is there­fore ex­pected to be­come the largest share­holder of Vi­dente in 2020.

The largest share­holder of IOK is W Hold­ing Com­pany Chair­man Won Young-sik, who was ac­quit­ted re­cently on charges of ma­nip­u­la­tion of Home­cast shares.

IOK said the ac­qui­si­tion of Bithumb will be Won’s first in­vest­ment project af­ter his re­turn.

“The rea­son IOK in­vested 44.7 bil­lion won is that Chair­man Won has rec­og­nized cryp­tocur­rency for its po­ten­tial and sta­bil­ity,” an IOK of­fi­cial said. “He plans to ac­quire Bithumb through Vi­dente, by be­com­ing the de facto largest share­holder of Vi­dente.”

The of­fi­cial added Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s re­cent mea­sures to fos­ter the coun­try’s blockchain in­dus­try was an­other rea­son for IOK’s in­vest­ments in Bithumb.

The sale of Bithumb has been scrapped once al­ready, as BK Global Con­sor­tium, a plas­tic surgery med­i­cal group in Sin­ga­pore which was sup­posed to buy the crypto ex­change, failed to meet the dead­line for pay­ment in Septem­ber.

Korea Times file

The Bithumb ex­change in Gwangh­wa­mun, cen­tral Seoul

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