Bitstamp founder brings lawsuit against company over share call option

The founder of digital currency exchange Bitstamp is to sue the company he founded, following an attempt by its new owners to force him to sell his remaining shareholding at an unacceptable price.

Decrying the push to sell the remaining shares “very significantly” under current market value, founder and former CEO Nejc Kodrič filed an action with the High Court of Justice in London to prevent the company from forcing his hand.

Filed on August 12, the lawsuit concerns a call option exercised by Bitstamp Holdings NV that would compel Kodrič to sell at $13.46 million. However, the founder claims this price is “very significantly lower than the present value of the shares,” and has asked the court to block the move that would see him forced to hand over his remaining 9.8% stake in the firm.

Kodrič sold two-thirds of his shares in Bitstamp following its acquisition by investment company NXMH back in October 2018. He was retained as CEO at the exchange for a further two years from the point of the sale.

However, after acquiring the exchange, the court papers reveal plans from the new owners to take the exchange to IPO, to replace Kodrič as the firm’s CEO, and to prevent him from becoming the company’s chairman.

Julian Sawyer, current serving CEO of Bitstamp, described the matter as a private disagreement between two of the company’s largest shareholders.

“Bitstamp’s two major shareholders – NXMH and Nejc Kodrič – have a private shareholder matter which is being worked through. As a major player in the crypto world these types of discussions often reach the public arena.”

As per the details of the case, Kodrič sought assurances that the call option would not be exercised following the acquisition after NXMH attempted to take the company to IPO.

The case will now be heard in London to determine whether Kodrič is to be compelled to sell his remaining holding in the company.

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