South Korean internet giant Naver reportedly joins Bithumb stake race

South Korean internet giant Naver is reportedly in negotiations to take a stake in the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Bitembe.

Naver is in talks with its largest shareholder, Bithumb Vidente, about a possible stake, local publication Maeil Business Newspaper reported Monday, citing several unnamed sources.

Naver is the provider of South Korea’s largest search engine and online messaging, and is reportedly looking to expand its platform’s presence in the country’s fintech market. The internet giant is reportedly planning to add bitcoin (BTC) as a payment method for its Naver Pay and Line Pay payment services in Japan and the US.

According to reports, at least 10 companies are looking to take a stake in Bithumb, including major US investment banks such as Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan, payment giant Visa and the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance. According to a report in the Korea Times, Deutsche Bank is also among the potential investors.

In recent years, Bitumen has been the subject of several reports and rumors about a possible acquisition. The South Korean cryptocurrency giant has reportedly been in sales talks with foreign companies since at least 2019, following alleged payment problems in previous Bitum takeover deals. Gaming conglomerate Nexon has denied reports that it is preparing for an IPO.

Naver did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

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