FTX cleared to sell $1 billion stake in AI outfit Anthropic

abdelaziz Fathi

A Delaware bankruptcy court just approved a plan allowing the now-defunct FTX and its creditors to offload the exchange’s $1 billion stake in AI outfit Anthropic.

The move was greenlit on Thursday and marks the latest effort by the crashed crypto platform to settle debts after its spectacular meltdown in 2022 shook the industry to its core.

Judge John Dorsey of the U.S. Federal Court gave his blessing to the sale of Anthropic shares, following a proposal laid out to the court last week. Amidst its financial turmoil, FTX has been eyeing the exit door for its Anthropic investment since last June, seeking the expertise of Perella Weinberg Partners to manage the sale and recover funds for its creditors.

The path to this divestiture became clearer in October when the U.S. Department of Justice waved off FTX’s Anthropic dealings as a non-issue in their case against FTX’s founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

This concept of a “clawback” isn’t new to bankruptcy proceedings, essentially allowing a bankruptcy trustee to retrieve assets or payments made pre-collapse. FTX’s strategy also included liquidating Ledger X, a derivative trading platform, to M7 Holdings for $50 million back in May.

The journey to sell Anthropic’s stake hasn’t been smooth, hitting a pause last June, just as whispers of the sale began circulating. This hiccup coincided with Anthropic rolling out its Claude 2 AI model in July, a move that saw the value of FTX’s stake in the company soar from $500 million to a whopping $1 billion.

FTX’s asset liquidation spree doesn’t end with Anthropic. Back in September, the court allowed the sale of $3.4 billion worth in cryptocurrencies, including Solana, Ethereum, and Bitcoin, albeit capping weekly sales at $100 million. The filings revealed FTX’s hefty crypto holdings, which included $1.16 billion in SOL, $560 million in BTC, $192 million in ETH, and $137 million in APT.

This recent approval to sell a 7.84% stake in Anthropic, initially sought in early February, came after a stalled first attempt last June due to extended bidder due diligence. FTX and Alameda had initially poured $500 million into Anthropic back in 2021, with the investment’s value now speculated to be around $1 billion as Anthropic’s worth tripled to $15 billion.

Separately, all eyes are on Sam Bankman-Fried, awaiting sentencing next month after his fraud conviction last year, with his future hanging in the balance.

FTX, which fell into bankruptcy in late 2022 under the leadership of then-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, has faced turbulent times. Bankman-Fried was later found guilty of defrauding customers, lenders, and investors of the exchange. Despite these challenges, FTX lawyer Andrew Dietderich said in a court hearing that the exchange anticipates having enough funds to settle all allowed claims from customers and creditors in full.

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