AI Firm Blocks Saudi Arabia From Buying Stake as FTX Sells Shares

An AI firm, Anthropic, has prevented Saudi Arabia from participating in the sale process of 8% of its shares, which are currently owned by the defunct crypto exchange FTX, according to CNBC. FTX is selling the stake as part of its bankruptcy proceedings to repay creditors who lost billions due to its collapse. The sale, managed by investment bank Perella Weinberg, has attracted interest from multiple sovereign wealth funds and is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.

Despite efforts by Saudi Arabia to diversify its investments under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030 Initiative,” Anthropic has decided to block the country from investing in the firm. The founders of Anthropic, Dario and Daniela Amodei, who have connections to FTX’s former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, have advised against selling the stake to Saudi Arabia due to national security and geopolitical concerns. These concerns stem from Saudi Arabia’s relations with China and controversies surrounding its human rights record, including the alleged assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Although Anthropic has not excluded other countries from participating in the sale, the US government has raised concerns about the sensitive nature of AI technology in relation to national security. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) may choose to intervene in the sale process considering the heightened interest from foreign state-backed entities.

Originally bought by FTX for $500 million in 2021, the stake’s value has more than doubled to over $1 billion amid the rapid expansion of the AI sector. The sale of class B shares, priced based on Anthropic’s last valuation of $18.4 billion, is expected to exceed $1 billion as of March. The sale of FTX’s Anthropic stake is part of the bankruptcy case, with proceeds going towards compensating investors affected by FTX’s collapse, as the company owes customers approximately $8.7 billion.

This article was posted in the context of FTX, AI, and bankruptcy.


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