SG’s ACA To Acquire Japan’s bitFlyer Stake; Founder Unaware

Image credit: iStockphoto/AaronAmat

Tokyo-based bitFlyer, one of Japan’s largest crypto exchanges, is set to be acquired by ACA Group, a Singapore-based Japanese private equity fund.

The deal, which is reported to be worth up to JPY45 billion, will see ACA Group take a majority stake in bitFlyer, with co-founder Minefumi Komiyama and Sekisui House, a Japanese homebuilder, reaching a general agreement. Komiyama owns more than 13% of bitFlyer, while Sekisui House has a stake of around 13%.

bitFlyer’s founder, Yuzo Kano, who owns a 40% stake in the company, told CoinPost that he did not know anything about the acquisition. However, reports also said that the shareholders' alliance, with the exception of Kano, has generally agreed to sell a majority stake to ACA.

bitFlyer's shareholders include Incubate Fund, East Ventures, Gunosy, Dai-ichi Life insurance, and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital.

"[Translated] There are no fixed facts at this time," a spokeswoman for bitFlyer Holdings said.

In November 2021, Kano discussed in an interview with Bloomberg that bitFlyer was looking to acquire a small crypto exchange based in Japan or overseas.

It has become known that bitFlyer was exploring new markets to continue its growth. The company applied for a license in Singapore to access clients and hedge funds in the city-state and started exploring NFTs or non-fungible tokens. These digital assets have attracted an extensive global following to date.

Kano said that bitFlyer was also targeting a 10% market share in the U.S. but was aware that it may be difficult to achieve due to the strong market penetration of Coinbase. At the time, bitFlyer had 3 million users and USD8 billion worth of assets, according to Kano.

Founded in 2014 by Kano, a former Goldman Sachs trader, and his colleagues Masuda Rikiya and Komiyama, bitFlyer is one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges by traded volume. It is now worth more than USD3 trillion.

Meanwhile, the ACA Group is a Japan- and Singapore-based investment fund that engages in Asia. In the past, it has invested in medical and ecommerce companies in Asia and has also made strategic investments in local companies.

ACA Group was founded in Japan in 2005, after which it opened an office in Singapore in 2008. Latest information on the fund's website report paid-in capital at SGD7,146,028.00 and JPY189 million. According to their bio, ACA Group is engaged in "managing investment funds of listed companies, managing investment funds focused on specific industries, and investment-related services, including advisory services for mergers and acquisitions."

Image credit: iStockphoto/AaronAmat