The battle for Bitmain and control of the company is still raging. However, one of the parties fighting for control appears to be extending an olive branch.
On Sunday, Micree Ketuan Zhan, Bitmain’s ousted chief executive and founder, published an open letter to the company’s board. In it, he outlined a plan to bring an amicable solution to the entire conflict – by buying out other top executives.
A Quick Takeover Attempt
Zhan’s letter as an exposition into Bitmain’s cap distribution. He explained that he still owns 36 percent of the company, while Jihan Wu, his co-founder – and the person who ousted him from the company – owns just 20 percent.
To wit, Zhan has offered to buy out Wu, as well as three other early company officials who own a joint 15 percent. He also offered to purchase the employee option pool (which makes up 19 percent of the company’s stock) and other external investors’ stakes. All in all, his acquisition amount stands at about $4 billion.
Zhan’s claim to power comes from an additional 60 percent stake in a Cayman Island-based subsidiary that Bitmain owns. There’s currently a legal battle in the Cayman Islands, which would decide who controls Bitmain’s subsidiaries in Hong Kong and Beijing. While Wu controls the Hong Kong subsidiary, Zhan has also made an offer to buy out any remaining stakeholders in the Cayman Islands.
The ousted chief executive reportedly controls Bitmain’s Beijing subsidiary, according to a report from Chinese tech publication BlockBeats. The news medium reported that he took over the subsidiary earlier this month after he stormed the building with some private guards.
Dovey Wan, the founder of Primitive Ventures and a notable blockchain insider in China, confirmed the story in a social media post. Wan also shared an update from Zhan in which he claimed that he had orchestrated the coup successfully. In his letter, Zhan outlined that he now controlled the Beijing office and added that the legal dispute between him and Wu would get a swift solution.
Micree today led a team of private guards crashed Bitmain Beijing office … they broke in by brute force and tried to take back the control (after Jihan’s initial coup and series of outrageous behavior) pic.twitter.com/wkpKJ8Nr8H
— Dovey 以德服人 Wan 🪐🦖 (@DoveyWan) June 4, 2020
Zhan added that the company would be branching out into the artificial intelligence and blockchain spaces, while maintaining its core business of developing mining chips. He also confirmed that the company would be resuming the listing process for an Initial Public Offering (IPO), as they hoped to achieve a $50 billion valuation.
No Way This Ends It
It’s unlikely that Wu and the remaining shareholders would agree to this buyout offer. While Bitmain has been through some tough times, the company has some hopes for bouncing back — as long as they can solve this legal dispute first.
Bitmain has also disavowed Zhan. Earlier this year, the company published statements on its Weibo page that shareholders had voted to fire Zhan unanimously from his position last year.
The statement added that Zhan had no right to represent the firm in any way, and he couldn’t issue directives to the company’s workers. The firm added that staff and management members shouldn’t have any communications with Zhan, and anyone who does could face legal action. So, there’s a slim chance that this buyout offer would last – much less settle the problems that these parties face.