The Block, a crypto-focused media company, sold a majority stake of its company to a venture capital firm in Singapore, according to Axios, which has valued it at $70 million.
Foresight Ventures, the firm behind the deal, is buying an 80% stake for $60 million. The venture capital (VC) firm says The Block will continue operations as an independent business.
The media company’s CEO, Larry Cermak, is the second-largest shareholder in the company, while Foresight CEO Forest Bai will become chairman, with partner Tony Cheng taking a board seat. Cermak posted on X (formerly Twitter) that the company is getting a “fresh start.”
1/ Big news today as we announce Foresight Ventures acquired a majority stake in The Block. This tx gives The Block a fresh start ahead of the bull market and provides us with more capital to build out new exciting products and expand our footprint into Asia and the Middle East. https://t.co/1ohnptiKwQ
— Larry Cermak (@lawmaster) November 13, 2023
Regarding the deal, Cheng says that the focus will be to help companies bring in more users from Asia.
“We’re seeing significantly more regulatory clarity in this part of the world. We’re also seeing significantly more capital flow into this region.”
This deal allows The Block to distance itself from the FTX scandal after the company’s ties to the defunct exchange came to light as its former CEO Mike McCaffrey, the majority shareholder, had been discovered to have taken loans worth millions of dollars from Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of FTX.
The VC firm agreed to spend an undisclosed amount on ads with The Block during the first year. Most of the capital was reportedly used to purchase the stake previously held by McCaffrey, with the rest going toward a change of control clause.
Foresight also has stakes in multiple Asian crypto media organizations such as Block Temp and Foresight News, both for Mandarin-speaking audiences, and CoinNess, which is published in Korean.
The company believes it can help The Block grow during a continuing bear market that has seen many companies in the crypto space lay off significant portions of their staff. In March, The Block reportedly laid off nearly 33% of its staff.