BlockFi, FTX Agree to New Credit Deal and Acquisition Terms
Cryptocurrency lending company BlockFi announced on Friday that it has reached an agreement with FTX US, the U.S. division of the crypto exchange led by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, for a revolving line of credit and potential acquisition.
The deal represents a total value of $680 million, BlockFi CEO Zac Prince tweeted this afternoon. "An option to acquire BlockFi at a variable price of up to $240M based on performance triggers" is on the table, he said.
The deal comes amid rumors that FTX would acquire BlockFi for as little as $25 million. On Thursday, Prince took to Twitter to deny those rumors. Nevertheless, the struggling crypto lender has now signed a term sheet with FTX US that leaves room for an acquisition.
The $680 million deal increases the size of the revolving line of credit from FTX to $400 million, up from the previously announced $250 million, and still keeps any payments on it subordinate to client funds. That means that if push came to shove, BlockFi would fulfill its obligations to clients before it had to pay back FTX.
“We have not drawn on this credit facility to date and have continued to operate all our products and services normally,” BlockFi CEO Zac Prince tweeted on Friday afternoon. “In fact, we raised interest rates, effective today.”
Prince said BlockFi saw increased client withdrawals the week of June 12, after competitor Celsius froze its client withdrawals to stave off a bank run. Since then, Celsius has hired two different firms to help it explore bankruptcy restructuring options and reached out to customers on its blog to say that stabilizing the business will take more time.
In the thread, Prince also dispelled rumors that BlockFi had exposure to bad debt from Celsius, but did say that his company experienced an $80 million loss from the forced liquidation of Singapore hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, also known as 3AC.
“While we were one of the first to fully accelerate our overcollateralized loan to 3AC, as well as liquidate and hedge all collateral, we did experience ~$80M in losses, which is a fraction of the losses reported by others,” Prince tweeted.
If FTX exercises its option to acquire BlockFi, it’ll be the second such deal that began with a line of credit to a struggling firm.
In April, the exchange finalized a deal to acquire Japanese fintech company Liquid Group for an undisclosed amount. The deal, which was initially announced in February, started with a $120 million loan to help the company stay afloat after Liquid was hacked for $90 million.
The BlockFi deal news was met warmly by FTX US President Brett Harrison, who said his team is excited to “help bolster BlockFi’s business and work together on paths towards strategic partnership.”
Editor's note: This story was updated after publication to include further details about the deal reached between FTX and BlockFi.