The Block valued at $70M in Foresight Ventures deal
Crypto media company The Block sold a majority stake to Singaporean venture capital firm Foresight Ventures in a deal valuing the crypto outlet at $70 million.
Why it matters: The deal frees the business from its financial tie to the FTX scandal, one year after the issue first came to light.
Catch up quick: Former CEO Mike McCaffrey — who held a majority stake in The Block — was ousted last year after it was discovered that he had taken multimillions of dollars in loans from FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
- McCaffrey used the funds to help finance a Bahamian property and a buyout of The Block's non-employee shareholders in 2021, Axios' Sara Fischer reported last year.
Driving the news: Foresight Ventures, with some $400 million in assets under management, is buying a stake worth roughly $60 million for about an 80% share of the company.
- The vast majority of the capital was used to buy out McCaffrey's stake, with the rest (under $1 million) used to fulfill a change of control clause.
- Foresight and The Block struck up a conversation about a deal starting in April, with the media company hiring Moelis and Co. to run the process.
Details: Foresight says The Block will continue to operate as an independent business, with CEO Larry Cermak at the helm as the second-largest shareholder.
- Foresight CEO Forest Bai will become chairman at The Block, while Partner Tony Cheng will also take a board seat. That gives Foresight two of the four seats.
- It's a major change for The Block, which just a year ago only had one person — McCaffrey— on its board.
Of note: Though Foresight did not directly inject capital into the Block via the share sale, it has agreed to spend a minimum, undisclosed amount on ads with The Block in the first year.
Zoom out: The deal gives Foresight Ventures its largest foothold in the U.S. The firm also believes it can help grow The Block at a time when crypto media companies are struggling by expanding its Asian customer base.
- "We're focused on helping companies bring in more users from Asia," says Cheng. "We're seeing significantly more regulatory clarity in this part of the world. We're also seeing significantly more capital flow into this region."
- Foresight currently owns minority stakes in three other crypto media organizations in Asia: Mandarin-language sites BlockTempo and Foresight News, and Korean-language site CoinNess.
The big picture: Crypto media dealmaking is being driven by fierce pressure on management teams due to the downturn in crypto markets.