FTX settles dispute, sells European arm for $33M

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Bankrupt crypto exchange FTX has settled a dispute over its European division, returning the company to its previous owners.

According to a Feb. 24 Reuters report, FTX agreed to sell FTX Europe back to its founders for $32.7 million, suggesting difficulties finding other buyers. The Swiss startup Digital Assets AG, later named FTX Europe, was acquired in 2021 in a $323 million deal.

Before accepting the sale, FTX attempted to recover the funds spent on the acquisition. The exchange filed a lawsuit alleging that the purchase was financed with customer funds and argued that the acquisition price was a “massive overpayment.”

The startup founders, Patrick Gruhn and Robin Matzke, denied the allegations and counter-attacked, asking for $256.6 million from FTX. Reuters reported that the dispute was finally resolved on Feb. 21.

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FTX Europe was part of FTX’s Chapter 11 filing in the United States in November 2022. A number of crypto exchanges sought to acquire the European division after its bankruptcy, hoping to grab a slice of FTX’s regional market share.

American crypto exchange Coinbase, for instance, attempted to acquire FTX Europe on two occasions: in November 2022, following its parent company’s dramatic debacle, and in September 2023. Interest was also reported from crypto firms Trek Labs and Crypto.com.

The company operated in the region only for eight months. In March 2023, FTX Europe launched a website for European customers to request withdrawals for the first time since declaring bankruptcy. 

FTX is in the final stages of its bankruptcy process, with plans to fully repay billions of dollars to its customers. As part of its efforts to recover funds for creditors, the company received permission on Feb. 22 to unload more than $1 billion in shares in the artificial intelligence company Anthropic. 

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