🧩 SullCrom's $2,165/hour FTX bill

Also, Microsoft strikes back at the FTC

Lookzy: all your daily legal news in 0.1 billable hours. Litigation, deals, lateral moves and industry news; we cover it all.

Welcome to Lookzy. In today's Lookzy:

  • SullCrom's insane hourly billing rate for FTX

  • Microsoft strikes back at the FTC

  • Breaking down SBF's $250M bond

  • CAPM booms and busts

Programming note: Lookzy is off next week and will return the second week of January. Happy Holidays!

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The judge handling defunct crypto exchange FTX's complicated bankruptcy approved the highest-ever hourly billing rate by a law firm. Sullivan & Cromwell, representing FTX, will be charging up to $2,165 per hour for work done by certain of its partners.

Experts have noted that total legal fees in a case like FTX's could exceed $100 million.

SullCrom will be charging between $1,575 and $2,165 per hour for partners and special counsels, between $810 and $1,475 per hour for associates and between $425 and $595 per hour for legal assistants.

No court had ever approved a bankruptcy billing rate above $2,000 per hour until 2022, when a judge approved Paul Weiss' $2,035 per hour fee in the Revlon bankruptcy. FTX's interim CEO John Ray, who also led Enron through its bankruptcy, is charging $1,300 per hour.

SullCrom was representing FTX on certain M&A and US regulatory items before its bankruptcy. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was highly critical of SullCrom in his written testimony to Congress (never to be read aloud because of his arrest), claiming that SullCrom was overly aggressive in pushing him to file for bankruptcy, suggesting it might have been related to the high fees they would receive.

Paul Hastings will be working with SullCrom, representing the FTX Creditors Committee.


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Arguing today's litigation news

Call of Duty: FTC. Microsoft filed its response to the FTC in the FTC's suit to block Microsoft's $68.7 billion acquisition of game maker Activision Blizzard. The crux of Microsoft's argument was that, in an industry with enormous competition and few barriers to entry, one singular acquisition by the third-place console maker cannot be anticompetitive, especially where they have committed to not withholding big games from competitors. Microsoft is being represented by Wilkinson Stekloff and Weil, and Activision is being represented by Skadden.

$250M bond. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is currently out of prison on house arrest at his parents' house on a $250 million bond. What does this mean? As an unsecured bond, SBF did not need to put up $250 million. Instead, he likely was able to put up only a small percentage of that figure (5-10% collateral) using a bond or other insurance company. Reportedly, this collateral is coming from his parents' house ($4 million), one relative and one undisclosed non-relative. This was the highest ever pretrial bond.

Boomeranged. John Barnett, the inventor of Instagram's Boomerang, who joined Twitter when it acquired his app Chroma Stories in February 2020, sued Twitter in DE Chancery Court, claiming that Twitter violated the merger agreement when it canceled his unvested equity awards.

Funding secured. The SEC urged the Second Circuit to leave its consent decree with Elon Musk in place over his "funding secured" tweet about Tesla years ago, which Elon appealed on free speech grounds.


Wheelin' and dealin' today's corporate news

Make it rain. Rainwater Tech, a company which created a rainfall generation technology, agreed to merge with dMY VI, a SPAC, in order to publicly list on NYSE at a post-money valuation of approximately $200 million. TCF Law is representing Rainwater Tech and Cleary is representing dMY VI.

SPAC bust. Bullish, the new crypto exchange backed by Peter Thiel, and Far Peak Acquisition Corp., a SPAC, canceled their $9 billion merger given market and regulatory conditions affecting both the crypto and SPAC markets.

IPO boom. CI Financial Corp. submitted a confidential draft registration statement with the SEC to initiate the process of taking its US wealth management business public. Its wealth business manages approximately $134 billion in client assets.

IPO bust. Israeli furniture and home goods maker Keter Group withdrew its plans to IPO. The company originally filed a registration statement in September 2021 and has not updated its prospectus since February 2022.


Lateral Moves:

  • Cooley hired partner Li Ruomu in its Shanghai office, previously of MoFo.

  • The SEC announced that Dan Berkovitz will step down as GC and will be replaced by the SEC's deputy general counsel,. Megan Barbero. Both Berkovitz and Barbero previously worked at WilmerHale.

Industry News:

  • Leaders at Seton Hall Law School announced that more than $975,000 of school funds were embezzled over the course of years, but they did not announce who was involved or how the funds were stolen.

  • Nearly 50% of the Vault 100 has now announced bonuses. Check out the Lookzy Reverse Bonus Tracker for timely updates to who's announced and who's left. Did your firm just announce? Reply to this email and we can update.


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Alright, back to billing. That's all, folks!