Major cryptocurrency exchange Binance will make a $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,510 crore) investment in Forbes, the media company said on Thursday, as it prepares to go public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

The investment by Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volumes, will replace half of the $400 million (roughly Rs. 3,015 crore) in private placement commitments already announced by Forbes and SPAC company Magnum Opus Acquisition Limited.

The deal is expected to close by the end of March, Forbes, and Magnum Opus said in a statement.

Forbes said in August that it would go public via a SPAC in an attempt to build on its digital transition and pursue further chances for growth.

“The transactions with Magnum Opus and Binance are expected to help Forbes maximise its brand and enterprise values,” the companies said.

Binance will help advise Forbes on its digital asset and Web3 strategy, they added, referring to a still-unrealised version of the Internet where blockchain-based “decentralised” apps and cryptocurrencies are widely used.

SPACs are shell companies that raise money in an initial public offering (IPO) and put it in a trust for the purpose of merging with a private company and taking it public.

In February last year, Binance dropped a lawsuit against Forbes. It had in 2020 sued Forbes and two of its journalists for defamation over an October story the magazine published regarding the exchange’s corporate structure.

Two senior Binance executives – Chief Communications Officer Patrick Hillman and Bill Chin, the head of its venture capital arm – will join Forbes’s board of directors on the closing of the deal, the statement said.

“I can confirm Forbes’s editorial independence will remain sacrosanct, and entirely independent from Binance,” Binance spokesperson Simon Matthews told Reuters.

On Thursday, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted a CNBC story on the deal to his 5.1 million followers. He later posted a thumbs-up emoji in reply to a post that said “need to set the right narrative discarding the fake news”.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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