Wave Financial makes first acquisition in Europe, plots further deals taking advantage of ‘fire sale’ environment

Quick Take

  • Wave Financial set to make first acquisition in Europe with plan to acquire Swiss investment firm Criptonite Asset Management. 
  • Wave’s CEO David Siemer explains how the firm is using the bear market to chase cheap deals. 

Wave Financial, a Securities and Exchange Commission regulated asset manager with over $1 billion in assets, is planning to make its first acquisition in Europe.  

The firm announced its intention to acquire Swiss-based investment firm Criptonite Asset Management in a press release on Thursday.  

Wave has taken a minority stake in the Criptonite, which is the first step of a planned full acquisition, according to the release. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. 

The terms of deal were not disclosed, but Wave expects the acquisition to be completed by the end of 2022. 

The two companies already have a strategic partnership in place. Criptonite launched several Actively Managed Certificates (AMCs) of Wave’s flagship digital asset funds in Europe in 2021. 

“This acquisition is Wave Financial’s first outside the US but will not be our last as we are actively looking for other partners to bring our diverse set of digital asset funds and solutions to accredited investors around the world,” said Matteo Dante Perruccio, president international at Wave, in the release. 

Plotting deals with distressed firms

Securing deals comes naturally to Wave Financial’s CEO David Siemer, who is a former M&A banker and previously founded a boutique investment bank focused on technology M&A. 

“It's a great moment for Wave, we're in a great financial position, we have a really strong balance sheet, we're making offers on a number of these [companies] to acquire in kind of a roll up strategy,” said Siemer in an interview with The Block. 

Siemer is exploring deals with other asset managers as well as distressed exchanges and lenders that are struggling in the bear market. 

“I think we're probably closing in on like a 100 at least initial calls with different companies out there over the last month and a half since these things all started floating,” Siemer said. “We have offers out right now on a couple companies, some pretty large ones that are on pretty steep fire sales,” he added. 

Wave had exposure to the now-imploded Terra ecosystem within its portfolios. The collapse of Terra and its algorithmic stablecoin UST in May wiped out an estimated $40 billion in market value. Despite the exposure, Wave managed to get out of the positions with little damage, Siemer said, leaving it in a strong position to hunt for cheap deals. 

Mergers and acquisitions are on pace for a record year, according to a report from The Block Research.  

However, several high-profile deals have fallen apart in recent weeks, such as investment firm Galaxy Digital’s acquisition of crypto custodian BitGo and crypto miner Prime Blockchain’s merger with SPAC 10X Capital Venture Acquisition Corp II. 

Blockchain M&A transactions

Blockchain M&A transactions and dollar volume by year

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