Leon Li, founder of crypto exchange Huobi Global, is in talks to sell a majority stake in the company in a transaction that would value the firm at $3 billion or more, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
Li is looking to sell almost 60% of the firm, and has held preliminary talks with Justin Sun, founder of the Tron blockchain network, and FTX, the crypto exchange founded by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
In a tweet, Sun denied any involvement.
Seychelles-based Huobi is one of the world's largest crypto exchanges with a daily trading volume of over $1 billion, according to CoinGecko.
The deal would be one of the biggest ever in the crypto industry. The downturn in the crypto market has forced many of the biggest firms in the industry to cut costs and jobs, but this could be the first instance that one of those firms sells a majority stake.
Huobi's existing investors, which includes ZhenFund and Sequoia China, were informed about Li’s decision during a shareholder meeting last month, the report added.
A deal could be completed as soon as the end of this month, the report noted. Li is seeking an overall valuation of $2 billion to $3 billion, which means that the stake sale could fetch upward of $1 billion, the report said.
FTX has made a slew of offers to acquire crypto companies during the recent market downturn, snapping up Japanese exchange Liquid in April before agreeing to acquire Canadian trading platform Bitvo two months later. It also has a deal in place to purchase lending platform BlockFi for up to $240 million.
After the Bloomberg report was published, Huobi's native token HT jumped nearly 25% to $5.43, hitting a high of $5.80.
Huobi Global, Tron and FTX didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
UPDATE (Aug 12, 07:10 UTC): Updates headline. Adds additional details from the report, comment line and token movement.
UPDATE (Aug 12, 07:22 UTC): Updates headline.
UPDATE (Aug 12, 08:20UTC): Adds paragraph on FTX's recent interest in acquiring crypto companies.
UPDATE (Aug 12, 09:00UTC): Adds Justin Sun's tweet referencing the report.
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