South Korean internet giant Naver has begun negotiations to buy a stake in the Bithumb cryptocurrency exchange. Maeil Business Newspaper reports this citing several unnamed sources.
Naver Corporation is the operator of the popular Internet portal and messenger Line in the country. According to the interlocutors of the publication, the company plans to integrate bitcoin as a payment method into payment services Naver Pay and Line Pay.
The media claims that on March 21, the main shareholder of the trading platform Vidente discussed a potential deal with Naver. At the time of writing, representatives of the internet company have not responded to ForkLog’s request.
The South Korean newspaper noted that at least ten firms are bidding for a stake in Bithumb. Earlier, the list included one of the largest American banks Morgan Stanley , also among potential buyers – Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, Visa, a subsidiary of the CME exchange, Binance, Naver and several other unnamed companies, media reported.
In September 2020, Seoul police conducted a series of searches of Bithumb’s offices and seized a portion of Bithumb Holdings shares held by Bithumb Korea director Kim Bin Gen.
In the same month, the CEO of the exchange, Lee Jong Hoon, was summoned for questioning in the case of fraud with the native Bithumb BXA token. Amid news of Bithumb’s problems with authorities, the media reported that the company had been re-listed for sale .
In November 2020, the possibility of acquiring Bithumb was allegedly studied by the cryptocurrency exchange Huobi.
Recall that in January 2021, journalists named the gaming corporation Nexon Group as a likely buyer of Bithumb. Representatives of the latter denied reports of a likely deal worth 500 billion won (~ $ 457 million).