Troubled South Asian crypto exchange Zipmex is close to signing a $100 million rescue package with an existing investor — although final hurdles remain before the deal can be completed.
V Ventures, a venture capital firm founded by Chalermchai Mahagitsiri, son of Thai billionaire and coffee king Prayudh Mahagitsiri, is on the cusp of allocating additional funds in return for a 90% stake in Zipmex, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter and documents seen by The Block. There are conditions attached that could still break the deal, the person said.
Zipmex halted client withdrawals in July due to its exposure to Babel Finance and Celsius, two beleaguered crypto lenders that froze customer funds in June. Zipmex has estimated its total exposure to Babel and Celsius at $53 million. The Block reported in August that Chalermchai Mahagitsiri was among two investors with whom Zipmex was in talks for a bailout.
V Ventures expects to close the deal on Friday if the final conditions can be agreed, the person said. One requirement is that Zipmex's key executives all agree to three-year employment contracts, which bar them from leaving the company. Another condition is that co-founders Marcus Lim and Akalarp Yimwilai and chief marketing officer Proud Limpongpan sign personal guarantees to make good any losses V Ventures may suffer, the person said.
However, Limpongpan has made it clear that she won't sign the guarantee, according to correspondence between the executive and V Ventures executives seen by The Block.
Limpongpan declined to comment to The Block, saying "I cannot comment as I am no longer a full time employee of Zipmex and operating as a consultant since the beginning of August."
Zipmex CEO Lim told The Block in a statement: "Thank you for your interest in our efforts to make our customers whole. As talks reach a critical and sensitive stage with our potential investor, I am unable to comment as all parties are under NDA and we do not want to jeopardize the deal. Will update you as soon as possible."
Yimwilai and V Ventures did not immediately respond to The Block's requests for comment.
The personal guarantees are a last-minute addition from V Ventures, the person with knowledge of the matter said. If unsigned by all executives, the deal could fall through.
Zipmex has until Dec. 2 to sort out its financial problems, having received a three-month moratorium extension from the Singapore High Court in August.