A group of investors have offered to take over the assets of Mt. Gox
and revive the bankrupt Bitcoin exchange with the help of experts
including the investigative firm of a former FBI director, according to a
court filing in Japan.
The offer, filed with the Tokyo District
Court last month, marks the first time that anyone has submitted a
proposal to sponsor the rehabilitation of Mt. Gox since it sought
bankruptcy protection from creditors on February 28.
which includes former child actor-turned entrepreneur Brock Pierce and
venture capitalist William Quigley, made the offer through a special
purpose company established in the Cyprus Republic, the court filing
None of the principals of the company, called Sunlot
Holdings Ltd., could be reached for comment. Alpha Partners Law Offices,
which is representing Sunlot in Tokyo, declined to comment.
proposal did not include an offer price, although the group said in the
filing that it believed Mt. Gox's present enterprise value was zero.
Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the proposal, said the
group was seeking to buy Mt. Gox for a token payment of one Bitcoin, or
Mt. Gox shut down its exchange and filed for
bankruptcy in February. At the time it said hackers had stolen 750,000
Bitcoins belonging to its customers and 100,000 of its own Bitcoins
after exploiting a security flaw in its software.
But then in
March Mt. Gox announced that it had discovered 200,000 Bitcoins in an
old-format online wallet, which it had thought was empty, raising
creditors' hopes of recovering some of their lost digital wealth.
New management, new Security
investment group proposed a new management team headed by John Betts,
who founded a data management firm and has held positions in electronic
trading at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs in the past, according to
his LinkedIn page.
The group said it would develop a new trading
and security platform and review its relationship with banks as part of
its effort to revive the exchange. It also proposed a forensic
In the filing, the group listed Freeh Group
International Solutions, a firm established by former FBI director Louis
Freeh that has carried out a series of investigations into high-profile
scandals, among a team of advisers it planned to tap for Mt. Gox.
No one at the Freeh Group could immediately be reached for comment.
the group's proposal, creditors would have the option of receiving
payment from the 200,000 recovered Bitcoins or receiving the equivalent
amount in equity in the new exchange, according to the filing.
The group said it would set aside 50 percent of its transaction fees to pay back burned customers and other creditors over time.
group did not disclose what amount, if any, it was willing to put
towards the operations of the revived firm. It would need about $8
million for the first 18 weeks of its revival plan, which would come out
of Mt. Gox's cash until the online exchange system is back up and
running, the filing shows.
The group will consider acquisitions
and an initial public offering as part of a longer-term strategy for Mt.
Gox, the filing said.
It is not clear whether the court will give Mt. Gox a chance to revive with the help of a sponsor such as Sunlot Holdings.
court-appointed administrator has until May 9 to report on the results
of an investigation into what led to Mt. Gox's collapse and whether it
meets the criteria for rehabilitation under creditor protection or
should be liquidated.
In the filing, the investor group said it
had been in talks with Mt. Gox about its operations since January 2013
and was in negotiations about a stock transaction when the company filed
for bankruptcy protection this year.
© Thomson Reuters 2014