The buyer is NXMH, a private equity and investment firm based in Brussels that also owns Korbit, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the purchase price was rumored to be around $400 million.
One of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges today, Bitstamp was founded by 29-year-old Slovenian native Nejc Kodrič with just 1,000 euros in 2011. It had since raised a total of about $14 million from investors including Pantera Capital.
Kodrič will remain CEO of Bistamp and does not expect anything to change for either the company’s customers or its 180 employees following the acquisition, he told Fortune in an interview. “We have kind of the same opinion as NXMH—why change something if it works perfectly well?” he said, adding that Bitstamp “has been profitable from almost day one.”
Nor does he envision a merger between Bitstamp and Korbit now that they are both owned by the same parent company, though the crypto exchanges do plan to share technology and research and development resources. “We’ve talked about it, but we decided to keep the companies running separately,” Kodrič said.
NXMH was one of four interested bidders for Bitstamp in a process that began in mid-2017, he added. They struck the deal last December, as the price of Bitcoin was peaking near $20,000. It then took much of this year for the companies to receive regulatory approval for the acquisition, Kodrič explained.
“We were not looking to sell,” he said. “We were definitely not looking for investment because we didn’t need to raise the capital.” Still, Kodrič took the opportunity to cash out the majority of his stake in the company—he retains 10% of Bitstamp’s shares—as he saw in NXMH a likeminded partner.
“We were very much aligned—where we see the industry going and what the company wants to be,” he said. “They’re willing to help us along the way, and help us with our global expansion.”