Cryptocurrency exchange FTX is reportedly considering an acquisition of the Robinhood trading platform, according to a report by Bloomberg† Sources close to the situation told Bloomberg that FTX is still considering the possibility and has not yet made an offer.
When asked about the potential buyout, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried stated that the company is not currently in the process of acquiring Robinhood. “We are excited about Robinhood’s business prospects and potential ways we can partner with them,” Bankman-Fried said in a statement to Bloomberg† “That said, there are no active mergers and acquisitions” [mergers and acquisitions] conversations with Robinhood.” The edge contacted FTX with a request for comment, but did not immediately hear back. Robinhood declined to comment on the story.
In May, Bankman-Fried disclosed its 7.6 percent stake in Robinhood, which was worth about $648 million at the time, according to a filing by the 13D Securities and Exchange Commission. This type of filing is used when someone acquires more than 5 percent of a company, but can also signal a potential takeover. Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev and CCO Baiju Bhatt both own about 8 percent of the company and, as Bloomberg notes, controlling 50 percent of the company’s voting rights. Shares of Robinhood rose 12 percent on news of the potential takeover.
While cryptocurrencies – and stocks in general – take a dive as we kick off what some consider to be a “crypto winter,” Bankman-Fried and his FTX exchange have been pivotal in providing bailouts to struggling blockchain companies. FTX has provided $250 million in revolving credit to crypto trading platform BlockFi, and Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research has also lent $500 million to crypto brokerage Voyager Digital.
Widespread economic uncertainty has also impacted Robinhood’s business — in the most recent revenue report, monthly active users fell 10 percent to 15.9 million in March 2022, compared to 17.7 million in March 2021. Revenue also fell by 48 percent year over year, from $522 million to $299 million.
Robinhood has become a popular trading platform among young investors thanks to its commission-free trades and the availability of both traditional stocks and crypto-based investments. It has been working to expand its crypto offerings since it first rolled out the option in 2018 and launched its own cryptocurrency wallet earlier this month. The company went public last year after it weathered the stock meme surge that sent AMC and GameStop stocks soaring. According to BloombergRobinhood has since lost about three-quarters of its market value, which currently stands at $7.4 billion.