The Business Times

Singapore’s Temasek to write down over US$200m in FTX

Published Wed, Nov 16, 2022 · 09:16 PM

Singapore’s state-owned investor, Temasek International, invested between US$200 million and US$300 million into cryptocurrency firm FTX before its implosion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Temasek is now preparing to write off the entire amount, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. Another backer, Sequoia Capital, wrote down the full value of its US$214 million bet on the exchange, while a person with knowledge of the situation said SoftBank Group is expecting a loss of around US$100 million on its investment. 

A Temasek representative declined to comment. 

The meltdown of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX empire and the evaporation of capital from its institutional backers is shaking confidence throughout the crypto world. The firm had been considered by some investors as one of the safer bets in the sector thanks to its size and role as an exchange, rather than being just an active manager of digital currency.

A potential FTX writedown wouldn’t have a major impact on Temasek’s overall financial standing.

The Singaporean firm, which managed S$403 billion in assets as of March 31, said in July it didn’t invest in crypto directly, focusing instead on building the ecosystem. When asked about the valuations of FTX and Amber Group, another crypto company it backed, Temasek US West Coast head Martin Fichtner expressed confidence in the long-term performance of its portfolio companies.

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“What we focus on is this: Are the businesses healthy and are they growing, and do we think the prospects are strong?” he said at the time. “We feel strongly about the companies in our portfolio performing well over time, and we’ll see cycles in terms of multiples go up and down as the cycles occur.”

Since then, FTX has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and Bankman-Fried has stepped down as its chief executive officer. Amber, which was seeking to raise funds at a US$10 billion valuation earlier this year, is now aiming for a US$3 billion value. BLOOMBERG

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