According to Korean media reports, US multinational investment banking services company Morgan Stanley is in talks to acquire a significant stake in Bithumb, a leading cryptocurrency exchange in Korea.
The news was broadcast on March 18 by Aju News, as Bithumb is alleged to be in talks with Bithumb’s major shareholder, Bident, who owns about 10% of Bithumb Korea.
In an article dated March 19, the leading local search engine, Naver, said that Morgan Stanley plans to invest between 300 billion and 500 billion crowns ($ 254 million to $ 441 million). “Morgan Stanley is involved in the purchase of Bithumb,” the report quoted an anonymous senior spokesperson for Bithumb as saying.
Another anonymous source familiar with the matter said: “The reason Morgan Stanley used Lapident is because the company understands that Bident has the right to negotiate a preemptive sale to acquire Bithumb Holdings.”
Market analyst Joseph Young shared the news on Twitter, stating that Bithumb is targeting a $ 2 billion valuation.
The news comes two days after Cointelegraph announced an “internal memo” from Morgan Stanley announcing that the company would launch three funds that would allow “high-risk” wealthy clients to own bitcoin.
Eligible clients must be certified investors with a minimum share capital of $ 2 million in the company. The minimum investment in mutual funds is $ 5 million.
Commenting on the news, Devin Ryan of US investment bank GMB Securities predicts that Morgan Stanley’s cryptocurrency funds will encourage other financial institutions to explore the possibility of giving their clients access to digital assets.
“Motivations range from a missed opportunity, at best or at worst, as customers decide that there are better options that could disrupt the business, which could negatively affect growth or competitiveness,” said Ryan.
Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Cointelegraph.