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Crypto exchange Bakkt to go public via $2.1-bln deal with blank-check firm

Intercontinental Exchange Inc-owned Bakkt said on Monday it has agreed to go public through a merger with blank-check firm VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings, giving the cryptocurrency platform an enterprise value of $2.1 billion.

Adds moe details from statement, background on Bakkt

Jan 11 (Reuters) - Intercontinental Exchange Inc ICE.N-owned Bakkt said on Monday it has agreed to go public through a merger with blank-check firm VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings VIH.O, giving the cryptocurrency platform an enterprise value of $2.1 billion.

The deal is expected to provide Bakkt, founded by outgoing Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler and backed by Microsoft MSFT.O and Boston Consulting Group, with $207 million in cash and $325 million from other investors, including $50 million from ICE.

The rush to go public comes as the demand for Bitcoin and other digital tokens from retail investors rise as they look for quick gains in a world of ultra-low yields and negative interest rates.

After scaling a record high of $40,000 against the dollar on Jan.7, Bitcoin BTC=BTSP, the world's most popular digital currency, hit a one-week low to $33,447 on Monday, indicating wild price swings in cryptocurrency exchanges. (https://reut.rs/3nyjb2S)

Cryptocurrency platform Coinbase had in December confidentially applied to go public, a move that could make it the first such exchange operator in the United States to list on the stock market.

Stock market debuts by such trading platforms are also likely to give more acceptability to digital assets among skeptics and regulators.

Blank-check firm VPC had raised $200 million through an initial public offering (IPO) last year. [https://bit.ly/3ouO8WI]

SPACs are shell companies that raise money through an IPO to take another company public within two years. Such mergers have become a popular alternative for companies looking to go public, with over 200 SPAC deals collectively raising more than $70 billion in equity last year.

Post merger, the combined company will be renamed Bakkt Holdings and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Arun Koyyur)

((sohini.podder@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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