Japanese online brokerage Monex to buy Coincheck for 3.6 billion yen

Thomas Wilson | Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese online brokerage firm Monex Group Inc said on Friday it would buy hacked cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck Inc, acquiring full ownership of the Tokyo-based firm for 3.6 billion yen ($33.59 million).

Monex, Japan’s No.3 online brokerage by customer accounts, said in a statement it would execute the deal on April 16. Coincheck’s CEO and COO will resign from the board of directors and become the company’s executive directors.

Toshihiko Katsuya, Monex’s managing director and senior executive officer, will become president and representative director of Coincheck.

The companies will hold a news conference at 4 pm local time (3 a.m. ET).

The deal will allow Monex to access Coincheck’s trading platform and customer base. Monex said Coincheck generated net income of 471 million yen ($4.4 million) for the year ended in March.

Monex shares surged by 20 percent, the maximum allowed under Tokyo Stock Exchange rules, while the benchmark Nikkei average was flat. Its shares have risen 40 percent since Monex said it was considering the deal.

The deal bring another mainstream financial services operator into the frontier cryptocurrency trading market in Japan.

Larger rival SBI Holdings Inc last year obtained a license to run a cryptocurrency exchange, but in February postponed plans to do so as it sought to bolster the security of its exchange.

Coincheck was hit by a daring $530 million theft of digital money earlier this year, prompting penalties from Japan’s financial regulators for lax security protocols.

Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Kim COghill