(Bloomberg) -- Cboe Global Markets Inc. is re-entering the world of cryptocurrency with an agreement to acquire Eris Digital Holdings LLC amid a growing appetite for the assets.
The Chicago-based exchange operator agreed to acquire Eris’s spot market, regulated futures exchange and clearinghouse, the companies said Wednesday in a statement. Terms weren’t disclosed.
“The demand for digital assets is huge, and there are some early movers in the retail-broker space that are eager to see this transaction” Cboe Chief Executive Officer Ed Tilly said in an interview. “There is a trust factor when you see Cboe operate in a geography or asset class. This is no different.”
Cboe plans to finance the transaction with cash and debt. The purchase is set to be completed in the first half of next year, the companies said.
Cboe was the first exchange to list Bitcoin futures in the U.S. in 2017, then exited the market in 2019 and was replaced by CME Group Inc. It also sought and failed to win approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to list a Bitcoin exchange-traded product in 2016.
The combined company plans to eventually introduce a digital market data offering, indexes and derivative products, they said. Tilly said the firm would offer “an all-in-one” solution that “we were hoping to build over years.” Cboe plans to operate the digital-asset business as Cboe Digital.
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The companies said they have support from retail brokers, crypto firms, and sell-side banks that will comprise a committee to advise Cboe on development of the platform. The panel includes Galaxy Digital, Robinhood Markets Inc. and Virtu Financial Inc., among others. Some of the firms expressed interest in acquiring minority stakes in the business, Cboe and Eris said.
“It’s impossible not to be paying attention to all the innovations” in crypto, Eris CEO Thomas Chippas said by video. “You can’t always pick your timing, so it’s always great when it works out.”
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