Alarm bells have begun to toll at the Tokyo Stock Exchange following reports that a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency company is making a bid to take control of a Chinese business listed on the exchange, which at the moment, hasn’t opened its welcoming arms to crypto-related firms.
The suitor has been identified as Noah Ark Technologies, which is reportedly planning to launch its cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan ahead of its ICO launch, according to Nikkei Asian Review. Noah Ark is also a shareholder of Beat Holdings, and in early June, proposed that the company issue new shares and open its acquisition rights to allow Noah gain 50% of voting rights. Noah Ark also proposed that Beat Holdings change its name to include the ‘Noah Coin,’ which is a crypto token that the former launched early this year.
However, the designs of Noah on Beat could cause distress for the shareholders of Beat as well as the TSE if Noah Ark Makes Beat Holdings a subsidiary in all but name. Beat’s CEO Lian Yih Hann had explained to Nikkei news that the cryptocurrency exchange’s attempt is part of its bid to gain more credibility since its shares would be listed on the TSE. Noah is reportedly looking to expand its cryptocurrency exchange business to Japan, U.S., China and some European markets. The Hong Kong-based company also aims to secure about $1 billion through an initial coin offering.
Beat currently trades with a market cap of under JPY10 billion ($90 million) on the TSE’s second section. The Cayman Island-registered company, which focuses on intellectual property acquisition, made headlines in 2011 after its executives were charged insider trading, causing the shares of Xinhua Finance—Beat’s old company name—to be delisted from the TSE. However, this is not the reason the TSE is skeptical of the takeover. The Japanese bourse tries to welcome foreign businesses to the market but the exchange distances itself from crypto due to its lack of investor protection measures. This is in addition to the fact that Noah Ark has not been approved as a crypto operator in Japan.
Although Beat and its shareholders are resistant of Noah Ark’s proposed takeover, the company owns 15% stake of Beat’s shares and by September, management rights for Beat would be determined at a shareholders meeting. However, Noah Ark has not shown any signs of withdrawing its proposal to Beat.
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