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Voyager rejects "low-ball" offer from FTX

Ryan Lawler
Jul 25, 2022
Illustration of a pitchfork spearing a digital coin with pieces falling away
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A battle between Sam Bankman-Fried, who has launched a white knight effort for Voyager Digital's customers, and the crypto lender's bankruptcy team at Kirkland & Ellis is officially on.

Why it matters: Whether SBF succeeds could have a significant impact on how Voyager navigates the Chapter 11 restructuring process, and on how it handles customer accounts.

Catch up quick: On Friday, global crypto exchange FTX (where SBF is co-founder and CEO) made an offer to bail out Voyager's customers.

  • On Sunday, Voyager's bankruptcy lawyers filed a response, calling the proposal "a low-ball bid dressed up as a white knight rescue.”

On Monday: FTX's communications team sent an official SBF response to Ryan, saying:

  • "We submitted what we think is a generous proposal — we aren't taking fees on this, just letting customers get their remaining assets back promptly."
  • He added that it's a voluntary bid and that customers can take his company's offer or continue through Chapter 11.
  • "It appears that Voyager's consultants are attempting to stall out the process, increasing their fees. We feel for the customers who have lost significant funds and are waiting to receive those that remain," the response concluded.

The proposal: SBF's offer was made jointly with FTX owner West Realm Shires Inc., along with his investment firm Alameda Ventures. It offered Voyager customers the ability to start an FTX account with an opening balance funded by an early distribution on a portion of their bankruptcy claims.

Of note: FTX and Alameda were careful to acknowledge that they were not looking to bail out Voyager from loans made to Three Arrows Capital or other creditors.

  • As part of the proposal, they said Alameda would write off a $75 million unsecured loan it had made to Voyager before the latter firm filed for bankruptcy.

Yes, but: Voyager doesn't seem very interested in the offer. At all.

  • The company, in a legal filing by Kirkland & Ellis, said it "will consider any serious proposal" that is better for customers than FTX's and that the move is an attempt to subvert the bankruptcy process.

What we're watching: What the Chapter 11 bankruptcy court thinks of the customer bailout offer.

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