Ripple has announced that it will not proceed with its planned acquisition of Fortress Trust, a Nevada-based chartered trust company. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse confirmed this decision on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), stating that while they initially signed a letter of intent to acquire Fortress Trust, they have now chosen not to pursue an outright acquisition. However, Ripple will remain an investor in the company.
On September 8, Ripple had revealed its intention to acquire Fortress Trust for an undisclosed amount. It was reported that the acquisition price was lower than the $250 million Ripple had paid for custody firm Metaco in May. However, the day before the announcement, Fortress Trust disclosed a theft of customers’ cryptocurrency, amounting to nearly $15 million. The blame was placed on an unnamed third-party vendor that had fallen victim to a phishing attack. CoinDesk later identified the vendor as Retool, a San Francisco-based company that had developed a portal for a few Fortress clients to access their funds. Ripple clarified that the acquisition talks had begun prior to the theft but were expedited as a result.
Fortress Trust, led by industry veteran Scott Purcell, provides financial and regulatory infrastructure for blockchain companies. Purcell had previously served as the CEO of crypto custodian Prime Trust until 2020. Following his departure, Prime Trust faced receivership after custodian BitGo terminated its proposed acquisition of the firm.
Despite the change in plans, Garlinghouse expressed admiration for the talented Fortress team and their ability to develop products that address real customer needs. Ripple intends to continue supporting Fortress Trust and hopes to collaborate with them in the future.