Crypto Exchange Huobi Is Seeking to Acquire Public Firm in $77 Million Deal


Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi is quietly seeking to become the largest shareholder of a public firm listed in Hong Kong – a move that, if completed, could open the door for Huobi to go public via a reverse takeover.

According to shareholding disclosures filed by Pantronics Holdings on Aug. 21 to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the public company is transferring more than 221 million of its ordinary shares to Li Lin, the chairman of Huobi Group, via several of the exchange’s subsidiaries.

With the disclosed amount, Li is poised to be the ultimate owner of 73.73 percent of Pantronics as the largest substantial shareholder. Based on the filing, the transaction is being priced at HK$2.72 (or $0.35) in average per share with a total amount nearing $77 million.

The deal, if approved, could give Huobi the opportunity to take over a public company and thus enter the secondary financial market – a process known as a reverse takeover.

Pantronics, an electronics manufacturing service provider established in 1990 and went public in 2016, has not yet made any official announcement regarding the completion of the deal, or any potential corporate restructure afterwards.

A representative for Huobi told CoinDesk that the crypto exchange is still waiting for confirmation and approval from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. As such, the company can’t comment on the issue at the moment.

Following the initial notice, Pantronics has halted the trading of its shares on the exchange since Aug. 22, “pending the release of an announcement relating to a possible offer to be made … on Takeovers and Mergers, which is inside information in nature,” the firm said at the time.

Gelonghui, a Chinese media that covers the financial market, first reported around 18:00 UTC on Monday that Pantonics had transferred 73.73 percent of its ownership to Li.

Following the news, the price of Huobi Token, the exchange’s own crypto asset, immediately jumped by eight percent and is now seeing a six percent rise over the past 24 hours, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

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Huobi’s move also comes at a time when several other Chinese private firms in the cryptocurrency space are applying for initial public offerings (IPOs) in Hong Kong, including bitcoin miner makers Canaan Creative and Ebang.

Another bitcoin mining giant Bitmain, is also reported to be weighing an $18 billion IPO in Hong Kong.



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