Anthony Scaramucci signed the paperwork for his recent deal with crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried the only way "The Mooch" could — at an Andrea Bocelli concert in Italy.
Last week, FTX Ventures and SkyBridge reached an agreement that saw the venture arm of Bankman-Fried's crypto exchange take a 30% stake in SkyBridge, Scaramucci’s alternative investment firm.
The financier is heading to the Bahamas this weekend to meet with Bankman-Fried and “lay out the goals” for SkyBridge and FTX's partnership, Scaramucci told Yahoo Finance in a sit-down interview at the SALT conference on Wednesday.
“I definitely want to have a cryptocurrency focus for SkyBridge,” Scaramucci, a founder and managing partner of SkyBridge said, adding that one third of the manager’s assets are allocated to crypto funds. “But I don’t want to lose sight of some of the traditional core aspects of the firm, so I am not going to eliminate that stuff.”
Scaramucci and SBF had worked on previous ventures together, including the launch of a cryptocurrency conference in the Bahamas earlier this year. SkyBridge also holds stakes in FTX across its funds.
The SkyBridge executive initially proposed FTX take a 15% position in his firm, but Bankman-Fried insisted on the 30% they eventually settled on. SkyBridge also provided Bankman-Fried with a three-year option to expand his stake to 85%, Scaramucci told reporters during a press conference at this year's SALT event.
SkyBridge deployed $40 million of Bankman-Fried's cash into crypto upon the deal's closing.
The Financial Times reported the investment was made on the condition $40 million be allocated to digital assets. Scaramucci disputed that characterization in his interview with Yahoo Finance, saying SkyBridge proposed funneling the assets into cryptocurrencies and Bankman-Fried made recommendations.
Scaramucci said his firm intends to hold the purchased assets on its balance sheet for the next 3-5 years.
"I’ve been humbled by life, and I’ve been humbled by markets," he said. "We can be right or we can be wrong, but I think we'll be right."
As of June 30, digital assets comprised about $800 million of $2.5 billion in assets managed by SkyBridge, according to the firm’s website.
Scaramucci told Yahoo Finance he is interested in expanding the firm’s stake in digital assets but envisions SkyBridge having more robust private equity funds and a broader hedge fund practice in the coming years “as markets heal and performance gets stronger.”
'An appropriate alibi'
Scaramucci initially met with Bankman-Fried over lunch at Costa — a Mexican restaurant at the Rosewood Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas – where he ordered a meat-free meal in solidarity with SBF, who is a vegetarian. The initial goal of the meeting was to escape a water park day during the Disney cruise he was on with his family.
"I thought, 'I have to get out of this water park,'" he told Yahoo Finance. "I have to find someone in the Bahamas I can talk to, and I knew my wife would accept Sam as an appropriate alibi."
After they discussed the general framework for an FTX investment into SkyBridge, Scaramucci ordered his team to send a term sheet to the 30-year-old cryptocurrency billionaire. The two sides met over a Zoom call the next day to hash out the details.
Scaramucci was attending a performance by his daughter and Andrea Bocelli in Italy when he received the final paperwork and signed it through Docusign, he told Yahoo Finance. Bankman-Fried wired the money on Thursday, September 8, one day before Scaramucci revealed the partnership in an interview with CNBC, where he is a contributor.
Scaramucci, who also served an 11-day stint as the White House communications director under former President Donald Trump, remains optimistic about the long-term future of digital assets even as a rout in cryptocurrency markets this year sent SkyBridge Capital’s flagship fund of funds down 25% in 2022 through the end of July.
“When the market is going from $69,000 to $17,000 in crypto, you do get a fight or flight response to that,” Scaramucci said, referring to the plunge in Bitcoin (BTC-USD) this year.
“I’m concerned, but I’m also a long-term thinker."
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc