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Taylor Swift agreed to FTX partnership, but the crypto exchange bailed, source tells CNBC

Taylor Swift, left, performs onstage on March 17, 2023. Former FTX Chief Executive Sam Bankman-Fried, right, exits the Manhattan federal court in New York City, Feb. 16, 2023.

Getty Images | Reuters

Taylor Swift signed and agreed to a sponsorship deal with bankrupt crypto exchange FTX after months of discussion before executives at FTX decided not to go through with the deal, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC.

The nature of the agreement, previously reported by The New York Times on Thursday, contradicts public messaging about the nature of the failed FTX-Swift deal. Public statements by a class-action attorney lauded Swift’s due diligence efforts and said that the artist asked the exchange to explain why its listed assets were not considered unregistered securities.

But Swift did ultimately agree to the deal, the person familiar with the matter told CNBC. The signed agreement was sent to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s email inbox, where it remained unanswered for a period of a few weeks, the person told CNBC, adding that ultimately, a group of FTX executives persuaded Bankman-Fried not to follow through with the reported $100 million deal.

Three other sources familiar with the matter told The New York Times that Swift’s team signed the deal with FTX after six months of negotiations, and that Bankman-Fried ultimately pulled the plug.

The person familiar with the matter asked to be kept anonymous due to ongoing federal and bankruptcy proceedings. The existence of an FTX-Swift partnership was first reported by The Financial Times.

FTX filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2022. Bankman-Fried faces multiple federal charges, including fraud and campaign finance violations. Three other FTX executives — Gary Wang, Caroline Ellison and Nishad Singh — have pleaded guilty to various federal charges and are cooperating with the government’s prosecution of Bankman-Fried.

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