- Online checkout startup Bolt Financial has dropped plans to purchase cryptocurrency payments firm Wyre, a Bolt spokesperson confirmed today. In April, Bolt had announced plans to pay $1.5 billion for Wyre.
- Bolt and Wyre, both San Francisco-based, “have mutually agreed to continue their partnership as independent businesses to bring more innovation to e-commerce and crypto rather than consummating the merger originally announced in April 2022,” according to an emailed statement from a Bolt spokesperson. A Wyre spokesperson couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
- Bolt CEO Maju Kuruvilla said in the statement that the checkout startup “remains a strong believer in crypto and a supporter of Wyre,” and Bolt “will continue our existing commercial partnership with Wyre to pave the path of crypto integration into our ecosystem.”
Wyre CEO Ioannis Giannaros said in the joint statement provided by Bolt that his company is “enthusiastic” about its continued work with Bolt. Wyre investor Ether Capital said in a release today that Wyre and Bolt “have agreed to remain independent businesses” and the two are entering a commercial agreement to bring Wyre’s one-click capability to Bolt’s customer platform.
“We’ve already begun integrating Bolt’s technology to help bring 1-click crypto to millions of users within the crypto space,” Giannaros said in the statement provided by Bolt.
When the acquisition was announced, Bolt’s Kuruvilla had said crypto would be “a major part of Bolt’s strategy” moving forward, and Wyre’s blockchain-powered technology would give Bolt a leg up in the e-commerce world. The $1.5 billion price tag would have made it Bolt’s biggest acquisition yet, and Kuruvilla said that price reflected the value Wyre brought to the table.
Since then, however, the cryptocurrency market has tanked. Crypto prices have plummeted and fintechs like Coinbase have cut employees. Bitcoin has dropped about 60% since its high of about $68,800 in November 2021. Today, Bitcoin’s price is hovering at $22,000.
Rather than merging, working as partners “will allow both parties to focus on their respective core competencies to deliver value to customers,” Bolt’s statement said. The Bolt spokesperson would not comment on why the purchase was called off or what the penalty fee would be.
As inflation and other economic headwinds challenge companies, the Bolt-Wyre deal is the second payments acquisition in two months that’s been scrapped. In July, Australian buy now-pay later firm Zip said it was no longer acquiring Minneapolis-based Sezzle, blaming “macroeconomic and market conditions.” Zip paid Sezzle $11 million to cover costs of the failed merger plan.