The bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX has suddenly halted the sale of its highly valued asset: its stake in the artificial intelligence startup, Anthropic.
This abrupt decision introduces potential delays in addressing the remaining $2 billion deficit in FTX’s balance sheet, as the sale of the $500 million stake has been put on hold.
Despite receiving interest from multiple parties interested in purchasing FTX’s stake, the advisory investment bank of FTX, Parella Weinberg Partners, has chosen to pause the sale of FTX’s stake in Anthropic this month.
FTX stands to make a significant monetary recovery through the sale of its stake. A report by FTX restructuring chief John Ray on June 26 revealed that an estimated $8.7 billion in user funds had been misappropriated. Out of that, approximately $7 billion has already been successfully recovered.
FTX’s ‘Clawback’ Impacted By Halt In Anthropic’s Sale
In January, a federal judge presiding over the FTX bankruptcy case granted permission for FTX to proceed with the sale of certain assets in order to repay its creditors. At the time of FTX’s bankruptcy filing in November, the company held $500 million worth of Anthropic stock.
However, due to the ongoing AI boom, it is anticipated that the value of this stock has significantly increased since then. FTX has also divested itself of other assets. These included the derivatives trading platform LedgerX, which was sold for $50 million.
This sale resulted in a significant loss compared to the $300 million that FTX initially paid for LedgerX in 2021. Selling Anthropic’s shares was part of its strategy to recover funds and allocate them toward repaying creditors. This process is commonly known as a “clawback.”
Clawback refers to a legal procedure, and in the context of bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee, in FTX’s case Perella Weinberg Partners, seeks to recover property or payments made by the company prior to its filing for bankruptcy.
In November, FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a legal measure. Approximately a month later, FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried faced a series of federal charges. These charges included money laundering, fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
In recently filed court documents at the United States Bankruptcy Court of Delaware, FTX’s former leadership, including Sam Bankman-Fried, has been accused of commingling more than $402 million in customer funds. Allegedly, this action was carried out under the direction of Bankman-Fried and other senior FTX executives.
Second Highest Stake Was In Anthropic
At the time of FTX’s bankruptcy, its stake in the AI firm was one of the significant holdings. FTX’s stake in the AI ranked just behind its reported $1.15 billion investment in the cryptocurrency miner, Genesis Digital Assets.
Anthropic, was founded in 2021 by former OpenAI employees. It made waves in the AI industry with the launch of its platform, Claude AI, in March. The company gained significant attention and support, securing a $400 million investment from Google earlier this year.
During May, Anthropic secured $450 million in Series C funding. Spark Capital played a key role in leading the funding round, demonstrating their confidence in Anthropic’s vision and potential.
Notably, the funding round also saw participation from many prominent investors. Google, Salesforce Ventures, Sound Ventures, and Zoom Ventures were among the notable entities.
Featured image from The New Republic, chart from TradingView.com