Fintech Circle terminates $9 billion deal with Bob Diamond-backed SPAC

(Reuters) -Cryptocurrency operator Circle Internet Financial said on Monday it has decided to end a $9 billion deal with blank-check firm Concord Acquisition Corp, nearly ten months after an earlier agreement was amended.

“We are disappointed the proposed transaction timed out, however, becoming a public company remains part of Circle’s core strategy to enhance trust and transparency, which has never been more important,” said Jeremy Allaire, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Circle.

The company did not elaborate on its plans to go public. Circle is the principal operator of stablecoin USDC and reported a net income of $43 million and nearly $400 million in cash in the third quarter.

Earlier valued at $4.5 billion, Boston-based Circle had amended its agreement with Concord, which is backed by former Barclays boss Bob Diamond, in February and doubled its valuation.

Termination of the deal underscores receding enthusiasm for both special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) and cryptocurrencies as turbulent markets fueled a bearish sentiment for risky bets.

Blank-check vehicle 10X Capital Venture Acquisition Corp II said in August it mutually ended its $1.25 billion merger deal with crypto mining and infrastructure company Prime Blockchain.

Cryptocurrencies have fared far worse than other assets as rising interest rates and a string of high-profile collapses wiped away nearly $2 trillion from the sector’s valuation. Bitcoin, the biggest token, is down by three quarters from its record high of $69,000.

“While there are a lot of challenges within the crypto and blockchain industry, I am of the very firm conviction that we are going to decisively leave the speculative value phase and enter the utility value phase, and stablecoins such as USDC will play a huge part,” Allaire wrote in a tweet.

(Reporting by Mehnaz Yasmin in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)