Cryptocurrency exchange platform Bitstamp has been acquired by NXMH, a Belgium-based investment company. The acquisition, a reportedly all cash deal, was signed by representatives from both companies on October 25.
Both Bitstamp and NXMH declined to disclose the terms of the deal but rumors suggest it was around US$400 million. In 2016, Bitstamp was valued at US$60 million, up from a 2014 valuation of US$39 million, Bitstamp’s co-founder and CEO Nejc Kodrič told Reuters on Monday.
NXMH was one of four interested bidders for Bitstamp in a process that began in mid-2017, Kodrič told Fortune. They struck the deal last December but it took the companies much of this year to receive regulatory approval for the acquisition, which saw NXMH acquire an 80% stake in the company.
“The reason why we finally decided to sell the company is a combination of the quality of the buyer, the quality of the offer and the fact that the industry is at a point where consolidation makes sense. A major factor in agreeing to the sale is that the mission, leadership and vision of the company remains the same,” Kodrič wrote in a company announcement.
“We do anticipate that this acquisition will strengthen Bitstamp’s positioning for growth, which will provide opportunities to better serve our customers. Customers should not have any concerns about their accounts or changes to the way we operate.”
NXMH is the European subsidiary of South Korean conglomerate NXC, which also owns South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Korbit. Though Bitstamp and Korbit will continue to operate independently, the two companies plan on “generating synergies in a number of areas including technology, research and development,” according to a release.
“Bitstamp is one of the oldest and most-respected cryptocurrency exchanges and we see positive growth potential as the industry continues to evolve,” said Hendrik Ghys, investment manager at NXMH. “We acquired Bitstamp because we see it as a strategic, long-term investment.”
Kodrič retains a minority ownership interest of 10% in Bitstamp and will continue as CEO. Damijan Merlak, Bitstamp’s co-founder, sold his entire 30% stake in Bitstamp with the deal and has not been active since 2015, Kodrič said.
Through the acquisition, he said that customers of Bitstamp can expect improvements in user experience, customer service, trading functions and other operations.
“We believe this acquisition is a logical evolution in Bitstamp’s growth as a company,” Kodrič said.
“We are now entering a new era in our company’s history, which has come a long way since it began seven years ago in a garage with two laptops and EUR 1,000.”
One of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges today, Bitstamp was founded in 2011 by Kodrič and Merlak as a European alternative to then-dominant Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.
Today, the Luxembourg-based company operates the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the European Union by volume with turnover of US$100 million per day supporting BTC, BCH, ETH, XRP, LTC, USD and EUR. Bitstamp has more than 3 million registered customers.