FTX Cleared to Sell Shares in Artificial Intelligence Startup Anthropic

A court has approved FTX’s petition to divest its ownership in Anthropic.

A US judge has authorized FTX to offload its ownership in Anthropic, an AI startup potentially. The decision came after the failed exchange settled a dispute with a faction of its customers who objected to the sale.

Court records show FTX’s intent to sell these shares as part of its supervised asset liquidation to reimburse customers affected by its 2022 downfall.

Anthropic Stake Sale Approved
FTX and its affiliated company, Alameda, injected $500 million into Anthropic in 2021. As of December 2023, Anthropic’s reported valuation reached as high as $18 billion, potentially valuing FTX’s stake at approximately $1.4 billion. An initial effort to unload the stake commenced in June 2023 but was halted as potential buyers conducted extensive due diligence for several months.

By January 2024, the FTX estate said that it anticipated complete reimbursement for its customers. The request to sell approximately 7.84% of FTX’s Anthropic holdings was subsequently submitted in early February 2024.

In a court filing dated February 3, FTX stated that the value of the Anthropic shares has appreciated significantly since the Debtors’ acquisition and investment in Anthropic in 2021, owing to the heightened interest in AI and large language models.

During a hearing on February 22nd, Judge John Dorsey of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court approved the sale following negotiations between FTX and dissenting customers. The latter had previously contested FTX’s ownership of the Anthropic shares, alleging that they were acquired with misappropriated customer funds, referencing evidence from the criminal trial of FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

Despite objections, they consented to the sale on the condition that they could potentially seek reimbursement for FTX users from the proceeds at a later stage. FTX attorney Andy Dietderich was quoted saying,

“We are selling the Anthropic shares, as we are selling everything, and putting the money in the bank.”

The attorney further added that FTX plans to utilize the proceeds from selling its Anthropic stake to reimburse users, adding the $6.4 billion already in its reserves. This amount is deemed sufficient to reimburse any individual who can demonstrate ownership entitlement to a portion of the proceeds.

Sale of Digital Custody
FTX had previously announced plans to sell Digital Custody Inc., a company based in Delaware with a South Dakota license allowing for custody of digital assets, to CoinList for $500,000.

CoinList’s CEO, Terrence Culver, will provide the funds. Interestingly, Culver is the same individual who originally sold Digital Custody to FTX for $10 million.

The Debtors had then said that DCI retains significant value as a franchise, especially since it has already obtained a custody license from South Dakota.

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