Binance not interested in buying CoinDesk, says CEO CZ
Binance CEO Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao has denied media reports that he plans to acquire mega crypto media CoinDesk, a subsidiary of the Digital Currency Group (DCG), through CoinMarketCap subsidiary.
Citing anonymous sources, crypto media outlet Blockworks reported that CoinDesk has been an acquisition target for Binance Capital Management (BCM). However, the publication added that the potential takeover, which was estimated at upwards of $300 million, by Binance is currently “on hold”.
Not “on hold”. Not buying.
It may be a good business. But not a fit in our geographic coverage. ?
— CZ ? Binance (@cz_binance) March 14, 2023
“No decisions have been made about a sale of CoinDesk or other options we are exploring to attract growth capital to the business. This is an ongoing process and there is no set timeline,” said CoinDesk CEO Kevin Worth. The chief executive added that his company has “received numerous inbound indications of interest” in recent months, but he did not disclose which companies are interested in buying Coindesk.
CoinDesk Inc has already hired investment bank Lazard Ltd in January to explore a full or partial sale of its business, meaning that DCG may not lose complete ownership of the company.
CoinDesk, which launched in 2013, was acquired by Barry Silbert in 2016 for $500,000. Its parent Digital Currency Group, the struggling crypto empire whose lending unit filed for bankruptcy, reported a $1.1 billion loss for the 2022 financial year. The venture capital conglomerate suspended its quarterly dividends until further notice as the company seeks to preserve cash, according to a Jan. 17 letter to shareholders.
The Genesis collapse may have impacted over 100,000 creditors in the U.S. alone, based on the firm’s reported numbers. The lender’s assets were worth $5.3 billion while its aggregate liabilities, including intercompany debts, were ranging from $1.2 billion to $11 billion.
Binance stirred similar controversy in 2020 when it acquired CoinMarketCap.com, the industry’s go-to aggregator of cryptocurrency data in a deal reported to be worth around $400 million. At the time, the world’s largest crypto exchange tried to downplay concerns over the obvious conflict of interest stemming from buying the primary website used by the majority of cryptocurrency traders.
Also in 2022, Binance invested $200 million to take a stake in Forbes as the long-standing media publication was planning to go public via a merger with a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company.
The deal, which also raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest, made Binance one of the top two biggest owners of the 104-year-old magazine and digital publisher.