Thailand financial firm Siam Commercial Bank Pcl (SCB) has acquired 51 percent stake in Thailand’s digital asset exchange Bitkub Online Company Limited (widely known as Bitkub) from Bitkub Capital Group Holdings Co., Ltd. for 17.85 billion THB ($540 million).

Under the deal, SCB’s affiliate SCB Securities Co., Ltd. (SCBS) will become Bitkub’s major shareholder and will be responsible for driving and engaging closely with the company as a business partner in building a business and digital asset ecosystem whereby digital asset exchange will become one of the nation’s key infrastructure segments to achieve further strength and growth.

The transaction will be subject to compliance with rules and regulations of the relevant regulatory authorities, such as the Bank of Thailand and the Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and will be conditional upon the satisfaction in material respects with the results of the due diligence and the parties’ fulfillment of all conditions specified in the share purchase agreement.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2022.

Earlier in September, SCB set up SCBX Group as a “mothership” to increase flexibility and competitiveness as it aims to become a regional financial technology group spanning a variety of financial businesses and platforms and laying the groundwork for an evolving global context.

“Digital asset exchange has rapidly gained popularity over the past few years and will grow even further in the long term. SCBX Group’s investment in Bitkub, well-known as Thailand’s reliable digital asset trading platform with a record of outstanding growth, will help the SCBX Group create new growth value in the long term amid a new financial world. The move is in line with SCBX Group’s strategy to upgrade to a financial technology group, meeting new consumer needs and entering a new competitive arena that will emerge very quickly in the next three to five years,” said SCBX Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Committee Arthid Nanthawithaya.

According to the statement, apart from the investment, SCBX Group plans to work closely with Bitkub as a business partner, developing digital asset businesses through new business models to create long-term added value and lay the foundation for further entry into the financial world of the future.

“Bitkub has reached a milestone by becoming an important part of Thailand’s digital economy infrastructure. Bitkub is no longer just a startup and is now becoming a necessary part of the infrastructure critical for Thailand’s financial industry 3.0. Having brought Bitkub to a very important turning point, we needed to elevate Bitkub to the global level, so we turned to a strong partner like SCB to help us achieve our target faster and more sustainably,” said Bitkub Capital Group Holdings Co., Ltd. Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer Jirayut Srupsrisopa.

“SCB is a financial institution that has supported the Thai people for over 114 years. To support new business growth, SCB has undertaken a major strategic move to reorganize its structure and transform into the SCBX Group. The most important thing is that Bitkub and SCBX share a common goal and vision with regard to the importance of digital assets for the country and the Thai people in the long term. We strongly believe that together we can drive the Thai economy into the future to be a regional financial and technological center. And it is an important opportunity to create a new National Champion for Thailand,” he added.

He also said the collaboration is marking another Thai “unicorn” that will bring great pride to the Thai people.

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