WonderFi to buy parent company of Canadian crypto platform Bitbuy for about $162 mln

Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on motherboard in this illustration picture
Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Jan 4 (Reuters) - WonderFi Technologies Inc (WNDR.NLB), backed by investor Kevin O'Leary, agreed to buy Bitbuy's parent company First Ledger Corp for about C$206 million ($162.13 million), giving it full ownership of the Canadian crypto marketplace.

Crypto aggregating platform WonderFi will pay with 70 million new shares and C$50 million ($39 million) in cash, C$20 million of which will be paid upfront and C$30 million in deferred cash, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The deal will give WonderFi access to Toronto-based Bitbuy's more than 375,000 users. More than $4.4 billion has been transacted through the Bitbuy market place since 2016 and the company generated over $31 million in revenue last year, according to the WonderFi statement.

"The integration of WonderFi and Bitbuy is a huge step forward in our mission of democratizing finance through easy and secure access to DeFi and crypto," WonderFi's Chief Executive Officer Ben Samaroo said in a press release.

Decentralised finance platforms (DeFi) allow users to lend, borrow and save - usually in cryptocurrencies - while bypassing traditional gatekeepers of finance such as banks.

The acquisition is expected to close during the first quarter of 2022, according to the statement.

According to a report in the Globe and Mail newspaper, Canada's WonderFi hopes to next expand into Australia.

"This is a great opportunity to really accelerate the growth of both business within Canada and internationally," WonderFi's Samaroo told The Globe and Mail.

In 2021, Australian online retail company Kogan.com Ltd (KGN.AX) and Bitbuy entered into a domain sale agreement that saw Kogan sell the domain name bitbuy.com to Bitbuy's parent company.

The agreement also had an advertising arrangement whereby Kogan.com will provide marketing support to Bitbuy's future launch into the Australian market.

($1 = 1.2706 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Mrinmay Dey and Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa

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