Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX is reportedly looking into buying Robinhood

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX is reportedly considering an acquisition of the trading platform Robinhood, according to a report from Bloomberg. Sources close to the situation told Bloomberg that FTX is still weighing the possibility and hasn’t yet made an offer.

When asked about the possible buyout, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried stated that the company currently isn’t in the process of trying to acquire Robinhood. “We are excited about Robinhood’s business prospects and potential ways we could partner with them,” Bankman-Fried said in a statement to Bloomberg. “That being said, there are no active M&A [mergers and acquisitions] conversations with Robinhood.” The Verge reached out to FTX with a request for comment but didn’t immediately hear back. Robinhood declined to comment on the story.

In May, Bankman-Fried disclosed his 7.6 percent stake in Robinhood, which was worth about $648 million at the time, according to a 13D Securities and Exchange Commission filing. This type of filing is used when someone acquires more than 5 percent of a company but could 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, control over 50 percent of the company’s voting power. Robinhood shares climbed 12 percent following news about the potential acquisition.

As cryptocurrencies — and stocks in general — take a tumble as we enter what some consider a “crypto winter,” Bankman-Fried and his FTX exchange have been pivotal in providing bailouts to struggling blockchain companies. FTX extended $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 affected Robinhood’s business as well — in its most recent earnings report, its monthly active users dipped 10 percent to 15.9 million in March 2022, compared to 17.7 million in March 2021. Its revenue also fell 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, as well as the availability of both traditional stocks and crypto-based investments. It has been working to expand its crypto offerings since first rolling out the option in 2018 and launched its own cryptocurrency wallet earlier this month. The company went public last year after riding out the meme stock wave that sent AMC and GameStop stocks soaring. According to Bloomberg, Robinhood has lost about three-quarters of its market valuation since then, which currently sits at $7.4 billion.

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