The legal and consulting teams working on FTX’s bankruptcy case billed the crypto exchange a staggering $34.18 million in January, according to court documents.
This comes as no surprise as the case involves a complex and high-stakes process that requires the expertise of top-notch legal and financial professionals.
Lawyers and staff of United States law firms Sullivan & Cromwell, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, and Landis Rath & Cobb billed a combined $19.03 million for their services and expenses in January alone. Sullivan & Cromwell accounted for the lion’s share, with a whopping $16.9 million bill.
Sullivan & Cromwell leads the charge
Sullivan & Cromwell’s legal and consulting teams spent over 600 days working on the case, billing for over 14,569 hours of work. Some partners received up to $2,165 per hour, while the firm’s paralegals and legal analysts were billed at $425 to $595 per hour.
Discovery, asset disposition, and general investigation work were the most expensive billables, costing $3.5 million, $2.2 million, and $2 million, respectively.
John J. Ray III, FTX’s chief restructuring officer and new CEO, was also a significant earner, charging $1,300 per hour and racking up $305,000 in February alone.
FTX special counsel Landis Rath & Cobb attended many court hearings and litigation procedures and billed the FTX administrators $684,000, including expenses.
AlixPartners, a forensics consulting firm, billed $2.1 million for January. Nearly half of the firm’s hours were spent on forensic analysis of decentralized finance products and tokens in FTX’s possession.
Alvarez & Marsal, a consulting firm, invoiced $12.5 million for over 17,100 hours of work in avoidance actions, financial analysis, and accounting procedures.
Investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners charged a monthly service fee of $450,000, plus more than $50,000 in expenses for planning a restructuring strategy and engaging in correspondence with third parties.
FTX’s legal battle with Grayscale
In a related development, FTX debtors have filed a lawsuit against Grayscale. The FTX Debtors are seeking injunctive relief to unlock $9 billion or more in value for shareholders of the Grayscale Bitcoin and Ethereum Trusts (the “Trusts”) and realize over a quarter-billion dollars in asset value for the FTX Debtors’ customers and creditors.
As described in the complaint, Grayscale has extracted over $1.3 billion in exorbitant management fees in violation of the Trust agreements.
Also, Grayscale has for years hidden behind contrived excuses to prevent shareholders from redeeming their shares. The company’s actions have resulted in the Trusts’ shares trading at approximately a 50% discount to Net Asset Value.
If Grayscale reduced its fees and stopped improperly preventing redemptions, the FTX Debtors’ shares would be worth at least $550 million, approximately 90% more than the current value of the FTX Debtors’ shares today.