Aug 10 (Reuters) - San Francisco-based blockchain payments
company Ripple Labs Inc, which is embroiled in a high-profile
battle with the U.S. securities regulator, is interested in
potentially purchasing assets of bankrupt crypto lender Celsius
Network, according to a company spokesperson.
"We are interested in learning about Celsius and its assets,
and whether any could be relevant to our business, the
spokesperson said, declining to say if Ripple was interested in
acquiring Celsius outright.
Ripple has continued to grow through the crypto market
turmoil and "is actively looking for M&A opportunities to
strategically scale the company," the spokesperson said.
New Jersey-based Celsius froze withdrawals in June citing
"extreme" market conditions and filed for bankruptcy in New York
last month, listing a $1.19 billion deficit on its balance
Last week, lawyers for Ripple submitted filings to the
bankruptcy court seeking to be represented in the proceedings.
The court approved the filing earlier this week. Ripple is not
among Celsius' major creditors, Celsius' bankruptcy filings
show. Ripple provided the comment in response to Reuters'
queries regarding the court filings.
A lawyer approved to represent Ripple declined to comment.
Celsius did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cryptocurrencies have had a rocky year, with the world's
largest, bitcoin, down nearly 70% from its all-time high of
$69,000 in November. Markets were shaken by the collapse of the
popular terraUSD and luna tokens in May, which caused widespread
losses for several major industry players.
According to bankruptcy filings, Celsius' assets include
digital assets held in custody accounts, loans, a bitcoin mining
business, the company's own CEL token and bank cash and
cryptocurrencies that Celsius has on hand.
Privately owned Ripple has not previously done any major
deals. It was valued at around $15 billion following a private
stock buyback in January, the company said, although industry
valuations have fallen significantly during a cryptocurrency
price crash over the past few months that helped topple Celsius
and other cryptocurrency firms.
Ripple's total sales of its cryptocurrency XRP, net of
purchases, were $408.9 million in the second quarter, compared
with $273.27 million in the first quarter, according to a report
the company put out in July.
The company was sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) in 2020 over XRP. The agency alleges that
Ripple and its current and former chief executives have been
conducting a $1.3 billion unregistered securities offering by
selling XRP, which Ripple's founders created in 2012.
Ripple and the executives have denied the allegations, and
the company has argued that XRP has traded and been used as a
(Reporting by Hannah Lang in Washington; Editing by Mark
Porter, Josie Kao and Mark Potter)