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FTX wins auction for Voyager Digital assets

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Sep 27, 2022
Illustration of a pile of money under a cracked glass dome with a gavel hovering overhead.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

FTX has won the auction for the assets of bankrupt crypto brokerage Voyager Digital.

Why it matters: The deal further solidifies Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX's founder, as the preeminent dealmaker during 2022's crypto winter.

Details: FTX's bid is valued at around $1.4 billion, which consists of the fair market value of all Voyager cryptocurrency — now worth about $1.3 billion — plus an additional $111 million of incremental value.

The intrigue: FTX's successful bid came together despite some contentious and public back-and-forth between the parties early on.

  • Bankman-Fried's crypto exchange made a bid to bail out Voyager customers just a few weeks after the brokerage filed for bankruptcy, but that offer was initially rebuffed.
  • FTX remained in the bidding, however, and was reported to be among the leaders to acquire the assets last week. According to that report, Binance was also in the running.

Between the lines: FTX has been on an acquisition spree over the last year, buying up distressed crypto assets as it seeks to grow and expand into new markets.

  • In February, FTX acquired Japanese crypto exchange Liquid Global after initially lending it $120 million last fall.
  • Later, it struck a deal with BlockFi that would give FTX the option to acquire the troubled crypto lender at a price of up to $240 million.

Separately, Bankman-Fried and his firms have been making a series of investments outside the crypto world.

  • In April, FTX US made a strategic investment in IEX Group, the stock exchange made famous in Michael Lewis’ 2014 book, “Flash Boys.”
  • A month later, SBF personally purchased a 7.6% stake in Robinhood, which set off a wave of speculation that a bigger deal could be in the works.
  • Most recently, FTX Ventures took a 30% stake in Anthony Scaramucci's SkyBridge Capital.

Yes, and: The dealmaking is likely to continue, as FTX is reportedly in talks with investors to bring on another $1 billion to make further acquisitions.

What's next: The agreement between FTX and Voyager, which is supported by the official committee of unsecured creditors, will be presented to the bankruptcy court on Oct. 19.

  • It will be subject to a creditor vote and other customary conditions but is expected to close promptly following approval of the court.

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