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According to two individuals who know the situation, Goldman Sachs is attempting to collect $2 billion from investors to acquire distressed assets from the insolvent crypto lender Celsius. According to the sources, the planned transaction would let investors acquire Celsius' assets at potentially substantial discounts in the case of a bankruptcy filing.
According to a source with knowledge of the issue, Goldman Sachs appears to be measuring interest and requesting pledges from Web3 crypto funds; funds specialized in distressed assets, and traditional financial institutions with large cash reserves. The assets, most likely bitcoins that must be sold at a discount would then be handled by participants in the fundraising effort.
Alvarez & Marsal was hired by Celsius, as the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday afternoon. Goldman Sachs declined to comment in response to a request.
In May of this year, Celsius had lent more than $8 billion to clients and had $12 billion in assets under management. On June 12, the company unexpectedly declared it would cease withdrawals from its platform, citing “extreme market circumstances.” The announcement aggravated the situation, momentarily driving the price of bitcoin below $20,000.
In addition to employing Alvarez & Marsal, Celsius hired restructuring counsel from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, according to a story from the Wall Street Journal earlier this month. The Block said that Celsius has also retained Citigroup to advise on potential alternatives, including evaluating an offer from rival cryptocurrency lender Nexo.
Citigroup (C) and Akin Gump have advised Celsius to file for bankruptcy, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Citigroup was unwilling to comment. Akin Gump did not reply to a request for comment immediately.
The firm was valued at $3.25 billion when Celsius obtained $750 million from investors, including Canada’s second-largest pension fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), in 2017.