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Huobi Founder in Talks to Sell Majority Stake at $3B Valuation: Report


Key Takeaways

  • Huobi founder Leon Li is reportedly in talks with several investors, including rival exchange FTX and TRON founder Justin Sun, to sell 60% of the exchange at a $3 billion valuation.
  • If finalized, the deal could be one of the biggest in the crypto industry, netting Li personally approximately $1 billion.
  • Contrary to the media reports, Justin Sun has denied ever engaging with Li about the sale.

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The deal could be one of the biggest in the crypto industry, netting Li over $1 billion at an equity valuation of around $3 billion.

Huobi Founder Eyeing $1B Exit

Huobi founder Leon Li is reportedly in talks with investors to sell roughly 60% of the exchange.

According to a Friday Bloomberg report, the founder of one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Huobi Global, has held talks with multiple investors, including rival crypto exchange FTX and TRON founder Justin Sun, to sell a majority stake in the company. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg said that Li was seeking a valuation of around $2 billion to $3 billion, meaning he could personally net around $1 billion from the sale. If concluded, the deal could mark one of the largest acquisitions in the crypto industry.

The Seychelles-based Huobi was China’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange before the country banned cryptocurrencies  last year. Despite suffering a significant blow to its revenues following the ban, the exchange has remained one of the largest in the industry, recording a daily trading volume of around $1.1 billion. That’s about half the daily trading volume of U.S.-based Coinbase, which is currently valued at around $19 billion.

A Huobi spokesperson has reportedly confirmed to Bloomberg that Li had negotiated with several institutional investors about the sale. “He hopes that the new shareholders will be more powerful and resourceful and that they will value the Huobi brand and invest more capital and energy to drive the growth of Huobi,” they said. Despite reports to the contrary, TRON founder Justin Sun has denied ever engaging with Li concerning the sale.

Huobi’s token HT surged about 25% from $4.48 to $5.46 on the news before erasing some of its gains. According to CoinGecko data, HT is currently trading at around $5.30, about 86.7% down from its all-time high price of $39.66 in May 2021.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.

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