Bachchans ride Bitcoin wave; $250,000 investment in Ziddu swells to $17.5mn

MUMBAI: Big B is at the crest of a Bitcoin wave which few — least of all the Bollywood men — had probably ever imagined.
The cryptocurrency mania that has gripped Wall Street and many financial markets across the world has driven up the value of a stock investment by the Bachchan family from $250,000 to $17.5 million in two and a half years.

In May 2015, Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek invested $250,000, as part of their personal investment, in Meridian Tech Pte, a Singapore firm founded by Venkata Srinivas Meenavalli.

Like many small technology companies, few outside the trade knew about Meridian. That dramatically changed last week when Meridian's prime asset was acquired by another Meenavalli-backed overseas company LongFin Corp just two days after the latter's listing on NASDAQ.

When Bachchans had invested in Meridian (under RBI authorised liberalised remittance scheme, or LRS), Ziddu was a "cloud storage and e-distribution startup".

Ziddu Coins Behind Frenzy
In December 2017, it is described as "a Blockchain technology empowered solutions provider" that offers microfinance using "crypto currencies across continents."

Thanks to magic words like 'blockchain' and 'cryptocurrencies', the LongFin stock rose more than 1,000% between last Wednesday and Monday, after surging over 2,500% on Friday when the deal to acquire was announced.

"In lieu of their holding in Meridian Tech, Bachchans received 250,000 shares of LongFin following the asset purchase," Meenavalli told ETin a text message. At Monday's LongFin stock price of $70 a share, Bachchans' holding in LongFin is valued at $17.5 million (which at the current exchange rate is approximately, Rs 114 crore)

How does the company explain this valuation? "It's crazy... the global euphoria over Blockchain is sweeping the intrinsic value can be attached," admits Meenavalli.