Sep 9, 2022 - Economy

Bolt's $1.5 billion deal to buy Wyre dies

Illustration of the bolt logo striking and breaking a cellphone

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

One-click checkout company Bolt is no longer acquiring Wyre, the crypto payments company that it had agreed to buy for about $1.5 billion back in April.

Why it matters: The deal was considered the largest non-SPAC acquisition of a crypto company when it was announced.

  • Another way of looking at it now we're in less frothy times: The deal may have been overpriced.

Driving the news: "Bolt and Wyre have mutually agreed to continue their partnership as independent businesses," the companies said in a statement.

  • "Operating as independent organizations while remaining partners will allow both parties to focus on their respective core competencies to deliver value to customers."

Context: The deal was supposed to be completed in cash and stock.

  • But investors have grown wary of Bolt's lofty $11 billion valuation amid a broader fintech selloff and rising doubts about the health of the one-click-checkout business model.
  • Rival Fast notably shut its doors in April.

In parallel, the frenzy over cryptocurrencies that served as a backdrop to the deal has also died down since the deal was announced.

  • Private equity and venture capital funding to the space clocked in at $2.7 billion in the second quarter, roughly half of the amount raised in the quarter prior based on S&P data.
  • Another major deal, Galaxy Digital's $1.2 billion acquisition of Bitgo, also was terminated in August.

Of note: Wyre CEO Ioannis Giannaros was expected to lead Bolt's crypto strategy after the deal was completed.

Why it matters 2.0: Crypto has yet to live up to its promise as a payment method. But each time the price of the asset class rises, investors, pour millions into projects aiming to make crypto easier to transact with.

  • The dead deal signals yet another pullback from that hope.
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