Mike Novogratz, a billionaire and a former chief investment officer for Fortress, has announced the launch of a cryptocurrency “merchant bank.”
Mike Novogratz is the Wall Street trader who became one of most famous and discussed people in the world of Bitcoin. He is a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner who spent more than a decade at the New York-based bank. He later became a principal at Fortress Investment Group LLC and managed the Fortress Macro Fund before it was liquidated in 2015.
On Tuesday, the ex-hedge fund manager made a statement about founding a “full service, digital assets merchant bank” and laid out a series of transactions that would raise $200 million and list shares of Galaxy Digital LP on Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange.
The merchant bank Novogratz is starting is dedicated to cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based ventures and is going to be taken public. Galaxy will be the first step on buying Canadian crypto startup First Coin Capital Corp. Then it will merge with Bradmer Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Canadian shell company, through a reverse takeover.
The entity will be used to raise $200 million in a private placement of stock next month. Bradmer will be renamed Galaxy Digital Holdings and listed on the TSX exchange with an interest in the merchant bank. According to the press release, this bank will be active in four areas: trading, principal investing, asset management and advisory work. The venture will not offer any services to U.S. residents.
While Novogratz’s group has outlined a plan for the future bank’s operations and a partial list of Galaxy Digital’s management, the proposal was dependent on approval from the Canadian TSX Venture Exchange. All parties were to complete their due diligence inspecting company assets and form a board of directors independent of both Galaxy Digital and Bradmer.
According to the statement, all the due diligence work is to be finished before the end of the first quarter in 2018, then the shares of Galaxy Digital Holdings will start trading.
Novogratz has been laying the groundwork for Galaxy for months. He considers Galaxy as the Goldman Sachs of crypto. Almost all of his crypto investments — about $400 million of bitcoin, ether, initial coin offerings and stakes in startups such as Xapo, Bitstamp and Ripple Labs — are made into Galaxy. Last year Novogratz described the run up in bitcoin other cryptocurrencies as the “biggest bubble of our lifetimes,” but at the same time he said that blockchain would reshape finance just as the internet did communication.
A merchant bank is one of the most ambitious concepts to emerge as a result of fuss at the cryptocurrency market. The management team at Galaxy will include Richard Tavoso, the former head of global arbitrage at RBC Capital Markets; Christopher Ferraro, formerly with HPS Investment Partners and BlackRock Kelso Capital Advisors; and David Namdar, who previously worked for Millennium Partners and UBS AG. Novogratz will be chairman and chief executive officer.