(Bloomberg) -- Anthony Scaramucci said SkyBridge Capital is trying to repurchase the 30% of his company that Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX acquired months before the crypto exchange imploded -- an attempt now complicated by FTX’s bankruptcy.
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“My legal team and my other partners are working to buy back that stake,” Scaramucci said Friday in a CNBC interview shortly before FTX filed for bankruptcy. “We’re in a worse position because of the fact that we made the decision to have Sam join the cap table at SkyBridge. There’s no question that we’re in a worse position -- he’s hurt the industry.”
Less than two hours after Scaramucci’s remarks, FTX disclosed the start of bankruptcy proceedings. More than 130 entities tied to FTX.com, FTX US and trading firm Alameda Research Ltd. were listed in filings at federal court in Delaware, with Bankman-Fried resigning as chief executive officer of FTX Group as part of the filing.
Any repurchase of FTX’s stake in SkyBridge would now have to go through the bankruptcy court. It’s a potentially prolonged process, one that SkyBridge will pursue with the administrator, Scaramucci told Bloomberg News after the filing. FTX creditors will be scouring the company’s books for units, contracts, joint ventures or ownership stakes with any value left to help cover their losses.
“The administrator will be inundated with requests from people who have claims against FTX,” Greg Kidd, co-founder of venture fund Hard Yaka, a small equity investor in FTX US, said in an interview. “And that includes people that were beneficiaries of investments from FTX. But there’s no way to jump the queue. Scaramucci can try to buy his stake back in bankruptcy court. There will be a process, and he could be outbid.”
Just two months ago, FTX said it was acquiring the stake in Scaramucci’s firm, which manages about $2.2 billion and invests in both hedge funds and digital assets. FTX Ventures provided SkyBridge with cash to fund growth and new product launches, and to purchase cryptocurrencies that SkyBridge would hold on its balance sheet.
On Tuesday, the SkyBridge founder flew to the Bahamas in an attempt to help Bankman-Fried, he told CNBC.
“The original idea was this is a rescue finance situation and could we somehow help,” Scaramucci said. Upon arrival, however, it became clear “at least from some of the people that worked on the legal team and compliance team, that perhaps there was more going on than it being a rescue situation.” Scaramucci left that afternoon, distressed, he said.
Scaramucci said he hesitates to call what he saw fraud “since that’s a legal term,” but he implored Bankman-Fried to tell the truth to investors, and explain what happened to regulators. “And if there was fraud, let’s clean it up to the extent possible,” he said.
Scaramucci said that his firm has had to mark down some of its securities given the swift decline in cryptocurrencies. It had exposure to FTX’s FTT tokens, he said, and has taken “a loss” on that.
In a September statement disclosing the deal with FTX, Scaramucci, 58, described Bankman-Fried, 30, as “a visionary who has built incredible businesses that are synergistic with the future of SkyBridge.” Bankman-Fried said FTX, which has sponsored SkyBridge’s annual SALT conference, would collaborate with Scaramucci’s firm on crypto- and non-crypto-related investments.
A few months earlier, SkyBridge suspended redemptions in its Legion Strategies Fund -- one of its smaller offerings -- after sharp declines in stocks and cryptocurrencies left its exposure to private companies at 20%. FTX was among the fund’s private investments.
The crisis enveloping FTX has snowballed this week, rattling the entire crypto market, with competitor Binance Holdings Ltd. agreeing to a hastily arranged rescue only to back out a day later. US authorities are investigating FTX.
Scaramucci told CNBC that he feels “disappointed” and “duped” by the collapse of Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire, calling this the worst week in cryptocurrency history.
--With assistance from Vildana Hajric.
(Updates with FTX bankruptcy, Scaramucci comments starting in first paragraph.)
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