Taylor Swift agreed to a sponsorship deal with FTX before it was reportedly rejected at the last minute by then-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried — contradicting earlier claims by the “Shake It Off” singer that it was her business acumen that scuttled the deal with the alleged crypto fraudster.
Swift’s representatives and FTX were negotiating a tour sponsorship agreement in the spring of last year that could have netted the pop star as much as $100 million, according to The New York Times.
After six months of talks, Swift’s representatives signed a sponsorship agreement, The Times reported.
But it was Bankman-Fried — a “fan of Tay Tay” who initially pursued a deal with the singer — who ended up pulling the plug, according to The Times.
The reversal by Bankman-Fried frustrated Swift’s representatives, The Times reported.
The Post has sought comment from Swift’s representatives.
Bankman-Fried, who goes on trial this fall, declined comment.
The Times report appears to refute earlier claims that it was Swift who put the kibosh on the deal after doing her due diligence on FTX — which imploded last November after it was learned customer funds were used to cover risky bets made by sister hedge fund Alameda Research.
“FTX wanted Taylor to endorse them by doing commercials, interviews and promotional events on their behalf like other celebrities were doing at that time but she would not agree to endorse FTX,” a person familiar with the situation but wanted to be anonymous told The Post on Thursday.
“Negotiations were narrowed down to a tour sponsorship deal,” the source said. “That’s why the deal was never finalized.”
The Financial Times had reported last December that several people in Bankman-Fried’s inner circle were urging him to abandon talks with Swift because of the steep price tag.
But Bankman-Fried supported the endorsement deal, which was spearheaded by one of his top senior executives, Claire Watanabe, the FT reported.
However, a source cited in the FT article said, “Taylor would not, and did not, agree to an endorsement deal.”
“The discussion was around a potential tour sponsorship that did not happen.”
Swift, whose large-scale multi-stadium Eras Tour is expected to rake in a record $1 billion, appears to have dodged a bullet.
Other celebrities who entered into partnerships with FTX, including Tom Brady, his supermodel ex-wife Gisele Bündchen, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David, and retired NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, have been named in several lawsuits alleging they duped retail investors.
The Times report states that Brady lost some $30 million after he was given a stake in the company while Bündchen lost $18 million.
Bankman-Fried has been charged by the federal government with fraud for allegedly cheating investors and looting FTX customer deposits, part of which was used to fund lavish lifestyles.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges as he awaits trial at his parent’s home in Palo Alto, Calif., where the terms of his $250 million personal recognizance bond severely limit his online communications and ability to move money.
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Source by [New York Post]