May 25, 2023
Arrington-Led Group Wins Rights to Manage Celsius Assets
(Bloomberg) -- Failed crypto lender Celsius Network LLC is poised to restart as a new company after Fahrenheit LLC, a group of bidders led by investment firm Arrington Capital, won an auction to oversee its assets.
Fahrenheit vied for the rights to operate the remains of Celsius in an auction that was held as part of the lender’s bankruptcy process, ultimately beating out rivals including Novawulf Digital Management and a consortium backed by crypto exchange Gemini Trust Co.
Other members of the Fahrenheit consortium include crypto miner US Bitcoin Corp., Proof Group, crypto entrepreneur Steven Kokinos and Ravi Kaza. The group will provide capital, a new management team and technology required to establish and operate a restructured company based on Celsius’s assets, according to a statement on Thursday.
The new company will be owned by Celsius’s creditors, and the Fahrenheit group will receive a fee of $35 million a year to manage the business, according to a court filing on Thursday. Some of creditors’ equity may be diluted to provide stock-based compensation to the entity’s managers.
Celsius filed for bankruptcy with a $1.19 billion deficit in July last year, after the collapse of TerraUSD and plunging cryptocurrency prices led risky bets on digital assets to backfire. In January, New York’s attorney general sued Celsius’s former Chief Executive Officer Alex Mashinsky, accusing him of duping investors by repeatedly making false and misleading statements about the lender’s safety. Mashinsky moved to dismiss the suit this month.
Read more: Celsius Examiner Rips Into Crypto Lender in Final Report
Assets the Fahrenheit group will manage include illiquid holdings of cryptocurrencies, a portfolio of institutional loans, private equity and venture capital investments, Celsius’s mining business and $500 million in “liquid cryptocurrency,” the bankruptcy estate said in the court filing.
A new Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan will be drafted and published in the coming weeks, Celsius said, subject to court approval. Kokinos, a former CEO of Algorand, will be the new company’s CEO, the filing said. US Bitcoin Chief Financial officer Joel Block will be its CFO.
The rival bid from the Gemini-backed consortium group proposed spinning off Celsius’s mining business as a publicly traded company wholly owned by creditors, and for remaining assets to go through a wind-down process. Celsius said that bid is a back-up offer should the Fahrenheit deal fail.
The bankruptcy is Celsius Network LLC, 22-10964, US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
(Updates with detail on structure from sixth paragraph.)
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