Thiel-Backed Crypto Firm Bullish in $9 Billion SPAC Merger

Bullish, which is preparing to launch a cryptocurrency exchange, has agreed to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company Far Peak Acquisition Corp.

The transaction will value the combined company at about $9 billion, which could be adjusted based on crypto asset prices at the close of the merger, according to a statement from Bullish on Friday. The deal includes a $300 million private investment in public entity, or PIPE, anchored by EFM Asset Management. Other investors include funds and accounts managed by BlackRock Inc., Cryptology Asset Group and Galaxy Digital.

Bullish was launched in May by Block.One, a blockchain software company backed by Peter Thiel and hedge fund managers Alan Howard and Louis Bacon, but is not yet operational. It also counts Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li and German entrepreneur Christian Angermayer among its investors.

The merger comes just a day after Circle Internet Financial Inc., part of the consortium behind the USDC stablecoin, said it will go public through a SPAC in a transaction valued at $4.5 billion.

This year has seen a spate of investments in the cryptocurrency space as token prices surged to record highs. Coinbase Global Inc. debuted on public markets in April with a valuation that soared above $112 billion. And in private markets, more than $17 billion of venture capital money flowed in as of mid-June.

At the time of the May announcement, the investors said the exchange would be capitalized by with about $10 billion in digital assets and cash. That included 164,000 Bitcoins valued at around $9.7 billion at the time, $100 million in cash and 20 million EOS tokens, which power transactions. Bitcoin has declined by about 40% since that time, while EOS has also slumped.

The Bullish merger will provide $600 million in net cash, according to the statement. Upon completion of the transaction, Far Peak Chief Executive Officer Thomas W. Farley, a longtime president of the New York Stock Exchange, will become the CEO of Bullish. Brendan Blumer, the CEO of Block.One, will become chairman of the combined firm.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year and is subject to approval by Far Peak stockholders and regulators.

Bullish will run a private pilot program in the coming weeks leading up to its public launch, which is anticipated later this year, according to the statement.

“With the increased interest from institutional players and sophisticated traders, it is critical to iterate on the existing exchange infrastructures we see today,” Farley said in the statement.

Far Peak rose as much as 5.1% to $10.44 in early trading Friday, giving the New York-based company a market value of about $720 million.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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