Bithumb, a South Korean-based crypto exchange, could end up in Chinese or American hands with the firm that agreed to acquire the exchange expected to default on payment, according to reports in the local media.
It was previously reported that BK Consortium, South Korean-owned and Singapore-based Company agreed last October to pay some $350 million for a majority stake in the company of 50% plus one share of Bithumb.
However, according to details revealed by newspaper Hanguk Kyungjae along with news agency Yonhap, BK Consortium only paid out an initial $100 million when the sale was announced, with the balance due to follow at a later unspecified date.
But it seems that BK has failed to meet some payment deadlines, with a number of media outlets saying that BK is “unlikely” to meet any future repayment obligations to Bithumb’s primary owner, BTC Holding Company.
The exact due date for the last payment has not been set, but a South Korean crypto industry insider said that they thought the deadline was sometime this week. The anonymous insider told Crytonews.com:
“A number of big-name exchange operators from both China and America have been aware of the forthcoming Bithumb opportunity for several weeks.”
BK had tried to defer payment earlier 2019 after agreeing to increase its stake purchase from 50% and an extra share to 76%, in exchange for extended deadlines. However, media reports claim that BK Consortium lacks the funds required to meet the forthcoming final deadline.
Bithumb stated that the sale was “not a major problem”, and that the company was still operating stably in spite of the ownership issues. The platform claims business would continue as normal “even if the acquisition deal is scrapped.”
The status of the $100 million initial payment could lead to legal dispute should BK default and a new suitor emerges.
BK Consortium boasts a host of Singaporean-based crypto-related businesses. The company is led by Kim Byung-gun of BK Medical, a leading South Korean chain of plastic surgery clinics.
The media outlets that reported the situation both agree that a Bithumb sale to abroad investors is “likely’, with Chinese and American firms thought to be interested.
Bithum is the leading South Korean company in terms of trading volumes. Most recently, the company has even outpaced its bitter rival Upbit.