Top venture firm botched chance to sell FTX stake days before collapse: source

November 16, 2022 2:32pm

A top venture capital firm had a chance to unload a major stake in FTX days before Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire collapsed — but botched the deal after trying to squeeze more money out of the buyer, The Post has learned.

San Francisco-based Greenoaks Capital found a suitor in the private markets less than two weeks ago who was willing to pay $28 a share for the fund’s FTX stake, which was valued at roughly $35 million at the time.

The deal had valued FTX at more than $20 billion, said a source with close knowledge of the situation. That might have clinched a tidy profit for Greenoaks, which was among several venture capitalists that invested in FTX when it raised $400 million at an $8 billion valuation in January, according to published reports.

But instead of taking the offer, Greenoaks, run by Neil Mehta — known for backing South Korea e-retail giant Coupang and stock-trading start-up Robinhood — decided to pressure the buyer into ponying up $34 per share, up from an earlier ask of $31 a share, the source said.

Greenoaks head Neil Mehta is a fan of Batman and named one of his funds after Batman villain Carmine.
Greenoaks Capital

The deal ended up falling through and Greenoaks’ $35 million stake became worthless a few days later after Bankman-Fried put his once-high-flying crypto company into bankruptcy.

Had Greenoaks not been so greedy, it could have likely signed the paperwork to make the deal binding before FTX filed for bankruptcy, the source said. The buyer may have challenged the contract in court after Bankman-Fried’s downfall, but there would have probably been a settlement, the source speculated.

Greenoaks has $15 billion in assets under management. The 38-year-old Mehta has been prone to naming some of his funds for Batman characters, such as the fictional mob boss Carmine Falcone, according to the Financial Times.

Looking ahead, Mehta can name any future fund after a new villain — SBF.

FTX raised $400 million at an $8 billion valuation in January.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Greenoaks’ stake in FTX it was selling became worthless after its haggling.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Greenoaks did not return calls.


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