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Galaxy Digital Wins Bid For Celsius’s Self-Custody Platform GK8, Looks to Expand Global Footprint

  • GK8’s acquisition will help Galaxy expand its prime brokerage offering
  • In October, it cancelled a $1.2-billion deal to buy custody platform BitGo  

Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital has won the rights to buy GK8 from Celsius Network. With GK8’s acquisition, Galaxy aims to expand its prime brokerage offering. The new addition will increase Galaxy’s headcount by 40 members, Galaxy said in a press statement.

Galaxy’s acquisition is subject to regulatory approval. If the deal gets the green signal from the regulators, it will help Galaxy expand its global footprint thanks to GK8’s office in Tel Aviv, Israel.

In August, Galaxy canceled its planned takeover of crypto custody provider BitGo for $1.2 billion because BitGo had not provided audited financial reports as per the agreed timeline.

Strategic Acquisition

“Adding GK8 to our prime offering at this pivotal moment for our industry also highlights our continued willingness to take advantage of strategic opportunities to grow Galaxy in a sustainable manner,” Novogratz, founder and CEO of Galaxy, said in the release.

Self-custody platform GK8 is part of bankruptcy-hit crypto lender Celsius Network. GK8 is among the few assets put up for sale by Celsius after filing for bankruptcy protection in July. Crypto-focused financial services firm Galaxy Digital did not disclose the deal’s details. But a spokesman for the company said the price it’s paying is less than the amount Celsius had paid for it. GK8 was acquired by Celsius in November 2021 for $115.

“Galaxy intends to support GK8’s ongoing operations in offering unique self-custody technology to the world’s leading financial services firms, as well as utilize GK8’s custody solution in the ongoing development of GalaxyOne,” it said in the release.

Job Cuts, Q2 Losses

Last month, media reports claimed that Galaxy Digital is reducing its headcount by 15-20%, which meant a reduction of 50 to 75 employees, from a total of 375 employees. The lay-off came after the New york-headquartered financial services firm reported $554.7 million in 2022 Q2 losses. The assets under management (AUM) dropped 40% to $1.7 billion from $2.7 billion in Q1. It reported $111.7 million net losses in Q1 compared to $858.2 million net profit in 2021 Q1.

The company attributed the losses to the market downturn. “I am proud of Galaxy’s outperformance during a challenging market and macroeconomic environment. Prudent risk management, along with our commitment to exacting credit standards, allowed us to maintain over $1.5 billion in liquidity, including over $1.0 billion in cash,” Novogratz had said while releasing the Q2 results.

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