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FTX Seeks Court Approval to Sell 8% Stake in AI Firm Anthropic

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The bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX is preparing to sell its most significant remaining illiquid asset: an 8% stake in the valuable AI startup Anthropic.

The move comes as part of FTX’s broader asset liquidation strategy to meet client obligations, following the recent divestment of funds totaling over $700 million in cryptocurrencies within the last three months.

FTX Pushes for Expedited Approval

The recent motion requests judicial consent for the sale and urges the court to expedite the process by shortening the deliberation period. FTX aims to have the motion heard at the upcoming bankruptcy court hearing scheduled for February 22, with objections from stakeholders due by February 15.

The court filing discloses two potential avenues for selling the Anthropic stake: an auction or a private sale. However, FTX’s legal team has redacted the specific price they seek, citing concerns that public disclosure could hinder obtaining higher and more favorable offers.

Anthropic gained attention when FTX’s former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, invested $500 million in the AI company in October 2021. Anthropic’s latest reported valuation was as high as $18 billion in December 2023, which would give FTX’s stake a value of around $1.4 billion.

FTX asserts that the funds generated from the sale of its Anthropic stake will be crucial in fulfilling customer and creditor claims in full. This move is not the first time the failed exchange has contemplated selling its Anthropic shares. A previous attempt in June 2023 was suspended for undisclosed reasons.

FTX’s Recent Divestments

This development follows FTX’s recent divestments of various holdings, which involved selling over $700 million in cryptocurrencies in the past three months.

Additionally, the bankrupt company disposed of roughly 75% of its GBTC investments, generating approximately $600 million. FTX has also initiated the sale of a $175 million claim against the bankrupt cryptocurrency lender Genesis.

Meanwhile, Andrew Dietderich, FTX’s legal representative, disclosed during the company’s bankruptcy hearing that any plans to revive the exchange have been officially abandoned.

He explained that despite months of negotiations with potential investors and bidders, the company failed to secure sufficient funding to rebuild the platform, with its flawed operations and founder’s legal issues cited as major hindrances.

Dietderich labeled FTX as a “fundamentally flawed” and “irresponsible sham,” deeming resurrection impractical. Given the foundational issues that hindered securing adequate funding from potential bidders, the primary focus is ensuring full customer reimbursement.

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