23 Mar 2021 · 2 min read

Morgan Stanley Rules out M&A Deal for Bithumb, Binance Is 'Always Open'

The American investment banking powerhouse Morgan Stanley has dismissed reports linking it to a possible M&A deal for the South Korean market-leading crypto trading platform Bithumb as “unfounded.” Meanwhile, Binance reiterated that they're always open for possible partnerships. (Updated at UTC 16:21 on March 24 to add a new response from one of the companies mentioned in the article and correct information about a Binance spokesperson.)

Source: Adobe/kaipong

Per the South Korean media outlets News1 and News Tomato, Morgan Stanley stated:

“The reports that [Morgan Stanley] has plans to acquire a stake in Bithumb are untrue.”

In recent days, a series of reports from reputable news outlets in South Korea have suggested that a large number of parties are vying for a stake in the platform, which was put up for sale in the second half of last year – as confirmed to Cryptonews.com by the sale broker, Samjong KPMG.

After the initial report of Morgan Stanley’s interest, further reports linked the domestic internet giant Naver to a possible deal, alleging that talks had taken place between Naver and Vidente, a video hardware provider that has a minority stake of at least 10.3% in Bithumb.

Multiple sources claim that Vidente may be able to enjoy preferential bidder status due to its existing holdings, a fact that has reportedly driven a number of other companies to negotiate with it.

Reports from the weekend also named the payments giant Visa and Germany’s Deutsche Bank as interested parties, in addition to the crypto exchange giant Binance.

A Binance spokesperson told Cryptonews.com,

“We are always open to considering strategic partnerships and investments at any given time. We will certainly reach out if and when we are ready to share any updates.”

The spokesperson did not elaborate any further. Visa did not respond to our requests for comment, while Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the reports.

News1, however, reported that the trail “may have gone cold” on the potential sale, which has returned to “labyrinthine” levels of confusion.

The gaming giant Nexon, which owns the Bitstamp and Korbit exchanges – is widely reported to have tabled a bid back in January, with media outlets reporting at the time that a deal was “all but done.”

That deal, however, is believed to have hit a roadblock with the exchange and Nexon reportedly in disagreement about who would be liable in the case of a hack.
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