Nejc Kodrič (seen in a 2016 portrait) has sold his digital currency startup Bitstamp to a South Korean rival. Photo credit: Mike Zenari
IBM’s cloud deal, German broadcaster finds transatlantic match and UK introduces digital tax. Delano’s breakfast briefing for Tuesday.
South Korean firm buys Bitstamp
Bitstamp, the Luxembourg-based bitcoin exchange, has been acquired by NXMH, the Belgian-based investment vehicle of South Korea’s NXC, reported the Financial Times, Forbes and Reuters. Terms were not disclosed, but a New York Times reporter tweeted that the deal was worth around $400m. Bitstamp was valued at $60m in 2016 and $39m in 2014. Bitstamp is the largest digital currency exchange in the EU and employs around 180 staff. NXC owns Korbit, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, and Nexon, an online video game producer. Nejc Kodrič founded Bitstamp in 2011 and will remain CEO.
Big Blue buys Red Hat
IBM has bought Red Hat, an open source software publisher, for $34bn, reported CNBC, Reuters and TechCrunch. The move should strengthen IBM’s hand in the cloud computing market, where it competes against the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
ProSieben and Eharmony at the alter
The German broadcaster ProSieben and the private equity firm General Atlantic have bought the US online dating site Eharmony, reported CityAM, Reuters and Variety. Terms were not disclosed. ProSieben already owns Parship Elite, Germany’s largest matchmaking site. ProSieben is in the process diversifying beyond its core TV business.
Merkel won’t seek re-election
Angela Merkel said she will step down as head of her Christian Democrats (CDU) party at the end of this year and as German chancellor before the next federal elections in 2021. “The time has come to open a new chapter,” she said. The announcement followed poor performance by the CDU in regional elections in the German state of Hesse over the weekend. Reported by the Economist, Financial Times and Guardian. Merkel’s exit will means more uncertainty for the EU and eurozone, wrote MarketWatch. But Wolfgang Schäuble, speaker of the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, told DW that Merkel was hardly a lame duck. And DW took a quick look at Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and 9 other possible contenders to be her bloc’s candidate for chancellor.
Trump sends troops to US-Mexico border
Donald Trump has ordered 5,200 more soldiers to the US border with Mexico, to guard against what he called an “invasion” by central American migrants who are in a caravan heading towards the frontier, reported the BBC, New York Times and Reuters. He sent 2,100 reservists in April. Americans head to the polls for mid-term elections next week.
Britain to tax online giants
The UK will levy a “digital services tax” on large, profitable internet firms starting in April 2020, reported the Guardian, Reuters and Telegraph. The 2% tax on British turnover could raise £400m a year. The tax will apply to around 30 companies, such as Amazon, Facebook and Google. The EU has been considering a similar tax.