Huobi founder Leon Li in talks to sell his shares for up to $3B

Crypto exchange giant Huobi founder and CEO Leon Li is in talks with investors and is considering selling a majority stake for $2 billion to $3 billion.

Bloomberg News reports that Tron founder Justin Sun and FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) are among the stakeholders.

Li owns nearly 60% of Huobi Global shares. If Li can sell for $3 billion, it would be the biggest acquisition on the market since its market cap dipped below $1 trillion.

A Huobi spokesperson confirmed Li’s decision and said:

“[Li] We hope that the new shareholders will be stronger and more resourceful, appreciate the Huobi brand, and invest more capital and energy to promote Huobi’s growth. “

So far, an FTX spokesperson declined to comment, with Sun saying there were no negotiations with Li regarding the sale.

Huobi Global

Li launched Huobi global in 2013, making the company one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges. However, it lost momentum when it suspended operations in China in November 2021. The decision comes after the Chinese government deemed cryptocurrency trading illegal. The decision hit Huobi harder than any other exchange, as China was Huobi’s primary market.

The exchange has expanded to countries like overseas turkey When Brazil We are currently considering expansion by acquiring a FinCen license. However, giants such as Binance and FTX appear to be his Huobi competitors in these regions.

The decision to sell Li’s shares was leaked in July 2022 but has not been confirmed. was The exchange said the weak market poses financial challenges and the company will cut costs, including job cuts.

Emergence of M&A

FTX has been bullish on M&A since the beginning of the bear market. At the end of May, FTX US president Brett Harrison said FTX is looking to expand globally by acquiring companies with the necessary regional licenses.

โ€œWe do it globally, partnering with, and sometimes acquiring, local companies to help us obtain the licenses we need in various locations such as Japan, Australia and Dubai.โ€

On the other hand, SBF was convinced that many cryptocurrency exchanges and mining companies would fail in the current winter market. SBF said it saw this as an opportunity to acquire a company in need of a helping hand.

At his word, FTX contacted Bithumb, BlockFi and Voyager Digital to acquire their organizations.

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