Goldman Sachs Approached to Broker Deal for Crypto Lender Celsius’ Assets

The bank was approached by at least one institutional investor asking Goldman to advise and broker a potential deal for Celsius’ assets, according to sources familiar with the matter.

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key takeaways

  • The potential deal comes as Goldman increasingly explores digital assets, including starting its own in-house trading desk
  • The bank would not carry any exposure to the struggling lender under the proposed arrangement

Investment banking powerhouse Goldman Sachs is considering helping an investor raise approximately $2 billion to snap up distressed assets stuck in limbo from troubled digital asset lender Celsius, according to two sources familiar with the matter. 

The deal — which one source said likely would occur via the investment bank’s asset management unit — could see investors purchase assets from Celsius at a discount, even if the lender does not declare bankruptcy. The source said the $2 billion is an estimate at this stage.

A spokesperson for Goldman was not immediately available for comment. Sources were granted anonymity to discuss sensitive business dealings. CoinDesk first reported the capital raise. 

One source made it clear Goldman would not own or oversee the acquired assets, stressing Goldman would be a broker, not an investor in the potential deal. 

It is understood Goldman moved quickly to explore the potential deal, but its initial response was not favorable. The would-be buyer of Celsius’ assets is understood to be canvassing other organizations with the capability to broker a deal. 

The move follows Goldman’s recent bullish push into crypto, including establishing its own trading desks and gauging interest from institutional investors in lending products. The strategy preceded Celsius significantly. 

Celsius, which ran $12 billion in May, has been on the brink of insolvency since the firm abruptly said it would halt all withdrawals from its platform earlier this month. In the event of a bankruptcy proceeding, customers would be considered unsecured creditors — and thus far down the list in terms of recouping their assets. 

“Goldman didn’t want to buy into the top of the market,” one source said. “This is more their style.”

The source drew a parallel between the woes of star stock trader Gabe Plotkin’s now-shuttered Melvin Capital, which took an emergency cash infusion from Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management and Ken Griffin’s Citadel.

Though Melvin closed after a kerfuffle in which the firm tried to launch a new fund to keep taking in limited partner management fees, the hedge fund firm did not go bankrupt. 

Whether Celisus does remains to be seen.  

This story has been revised to reflect new information emerging. It is a developing story and will be updated accordingly. Correction: The story initially stated Goldman could purchase Celsius’ assets outright via its asset management arm. The bank is advising on a potential deal with third parties as a broker of the transaction.


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