Arrington Capital-backed group to acquire Celsius assets
Following a bankruptcy process, the assets of the failed crypto lender Celsius Network are about to be acquired by a consortium called Fahrenheit. Behind this name, you will find a group of bidders led by investment firm Arrington Capital.
The other members of the consortium are crypto mining firm US Bitcoin Corp., Proof Group, Steven Kokinos and Ravi Kaza. As the name suggests, Arrington Capital is led by Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch. Michael Arrington left TechCrunch in 2011.
There were two other bidding rivals — NovaWulf and the Blockchain Recovery Investment Consortium that involved Winklevoss-owned crypto exchange Gemini Trust.
The plan is to distribute Celsius’ liquid assets to account holders. As for illiquid assets, such as institutional loan portfolio, mining business and alternative investments, they will be managed by a new management team.
According to the court filing, Fahrenheit will receive $35 million per year in management fees while Celsius creditors will still own 100% of the equity of the new crypto entity.
As a reminder, Celsius Network filed for bankruptcy back in July 2022. At its peak, Celsius was one of the largest cryptocurrency lenders and reached a valuation of $3.25 billion.
After the collapse of Terraform Labs, the company behind the Terra USD (UST) and Terra (LUNA) cryptocurrencies, Celsius faced a bank run on its assets. At some point, it had to pause all customer withdrawals and file for bankruptcy. The company claimed that it had anywhere between $1 billion and $10 billion in assets and liabilities and worked with more than 100,000 creditors.
More recently, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against Alex Mashinsky, co-founder and former CEO of Celsius Network. Among other things, the AG's office said that Celsius had risky investment strategies and made “false and unsubstantiated promises.”
“We are very pleased that our competitive auction process produced a positive result for customers, including, most prominently, hundreds of millions of dollars in lower management fee savings and increased liquid cryptocurrency distributions to Celsius’ customers,” David Barse and Alan Carr, members of the Special Committee of the Board, said in a statement. “We appreciate the robust interest that the Celsius platform has received from competing bidders and look forward to working with Fahrenheit to expedite the restructuring and distribute recoveries to creditors.”
In the coming weeks, a new chapter 11 bankruptcy plan will be filed. It will be subject to bankruptcy court approval. If that doesn’t pan out for some reason, Blockchain Recovery Investment Consortium’s offer (which involves Gemini Trust) will be the backup bid.