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Bankrupt Crypto Company Celsius Could Get New Life From Wall Street

The Wall Street Journal

Two Wall Street heavyweights are locked in a bidding war for bankrupt cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network. 

Apollo Global Management and senior executives at distressed-debt specialist Fortress Investment Group are each backing competing groups that aim to restart Celsius under new management, people familiar with the matter said. Each proposal would kick in around $50 million to help Celsius resume some operations as a publicly traded company owned mostly by its creditors, according to people familiar with the matter and investor presentations viewed by The Wall Street Journal. 

The two groups have been submitting bids and counterbids during an auction that has lasted several weeks, adding sweeteners and, in at least one case, soliciting millions of dollars from additional investors to join a consortium, some of the people said. 

A winner could be named soon, Ross Kwasteniet, a lawyer representing Celsius, said at a bankruptcy-court hearing Wednesday.

Investors that buy up and turn around downtrodden companies have largely shunned bankrupt crypto companies. Crypto lender Voyager Digital said this month that it plans to liquidate and would initially return around 36 cents on the dollar to millions of customers who were stranded by its chapter 11 filing. BlockFi said last week that a liquidation is likely the best way to return value to customers, hinting that the collapsed crypto lender isn’t likely to find a buyer.