IOK Company seeks to acquire Bithumb
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.
The Bithumb exchange in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul