Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and chief executive officer of FTX Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange, speaks during an interview on an episode of Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein in New York, US, on Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022.
Jeenah Moon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
FTX’s winning $1.4 billion bid for bankrupt crypto firm Voyager Digital was announced earlier this week, but court filings indicate that the cash paid for the firm itself is significantly lower — $51 million.
The bulk of FTX’s offer focused on Voyager’s crypto holdings, which amounted to $1.31 billion. Those holdings will be distributed to eligible creditors on a pro rata basis, the filings say.
Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX’s founder, has pursued an aggressive buying spree across the crypto industry, snapping up deeply discounted assets in the wake of defaults, bankruptcies, and market tumult.
In the Voyager deal, FTX’s consideration for non-crypto assets — the users, intellectual property, and structure of Voyager itself — constitutes a total of “at least $111 million,” filings show. Just $51 million of that is for Voyager’s assets, intellectual property, and user base. The remaining $60 million consists of an accumulated $50 account credit for each Voyager user who successfully onboards with FTX and a $20 million “earn out” allowance.
It was not immediately apparent, based on filings, who would benefit from an earnout, which is often used in acquisitions as a way to incentivize founders and management teams of the company being purchased.
Voyager’s most recent bankruptcy report indicated that the company held just shy of $900 million in crypto assets for customers, with another $456.44 million loaned out and $173.68 million held as collateral from borrowers.
Voyager users who chose to migrate to FTX’s platform would receive a pro rata distribution of Voyager assets, based on their portion of Voyager’s overall holdings.
Voyager’s troubles emerged after the firm extended a loan valued at $670 million to crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC) in early 2022. When 3AC defaulted on its loan obligations in late June, it unleashed a financial cascade that pushed Voyager into bankruptcy and 3AC’s founders into hiding.
FTX’s bid, if approved by creditors, would transfer Voyager’s loan balances — excluding the 3AC loan, which was not part of the deal — to FTX and, by extension, to Bankman-Fried. The $51 million price tag for Voyager and its associated claims would represent a steep discount, given FTX’s assumption of customer assets and loan balances.
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