FTX, the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, has temporarily halted the sale of its $500 million stake in artificial intelligence (AI) startup Anthropic, according to anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg. The announcement was made by investment bank Perella Weinberg, who is handling FTX’s bankruptcy proceedings. The decision to pause the sale comes after many months of bidders’ due diligence on the stake, which was valued at $4.6 billion.
Before FTX filed for bankruptcy in November last year, it and sister hedge fund Alameda invested $500 million in Anthropic, the creator of ChatGPT rival chatbot Claude. Semafor reported in early June that FTX was looking to sell its shares for “hundreds of millions of dollars.” Despite this, in May, Anthropic raised $450 million in Series C funding led by Spark Capital with participation from Google, Salesforce Ventures, Sound Ventures, Zoom Ventures, and others.
While the reasons behind the pause in the sale are unknown, it is speculated that the due diligence carried out by bidders could have raised concerns that Anthropic’s true value was lower than expected. Nevertheless, the current pause does not necessarily mean that the sale will not go through in the future.
The news of the pause in the sale of Anthropic’s stake by FTX comes amid increasing investor interest in AI startups, especially given the technology’s potential for transforming various industries. This interest has spurred significant investment into the sector, with many institutions, including venture capital firms and tech giants, investing heavily in AI startups.
Anthropic, which was founded in 2019 by former Google and OpenAI researchers, aims to improve the transparency and interpretability of AI systems, making them easier to use and understand. The company has developed a suite of AI tools and products that enable developers to create more effective and ethical AI models.
Despite the pause in the sale of Anthropic’s stake by FTX, industry watchers are closely monitoring developments in the AI startup space, anticipating further investments and potential acquisitions that could further transform the technology landscape.