Cryptocurrency derivatives exchange FTX is reportedly exploring a takeover of Robinhood Markets, the popular trading app that introduced millions of traders to Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and Dogecoin (DOGE).
Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported Monday that FTX is holding internal deliberations about whether to acquire Robinhood. Although no decision has been made to pursue a takeover, FTX is said to be taking the matter seriously. Bloomberg's contact clarified that FTX has yet to approach Robinhood with a buyout proposal and that it could still decide against pursuing a deal.
In a follow-up statement to Bloomberg, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried clarified that his firm is excited about potentially partnering with Robinhood but that there were no active merger conversations, which was in line with earlier reporting:
“We are excited about Robinhood’s business prospects and potential ways we could partner with them [...] That being said, there are no active M&A conversations with Robinhood.”
This isn't the first time FTX or Bankman-Fried have been tied to Robinhood. In May, it was disclosed that the FTX CEO had purchased a 7.6% stake in the discount brokerage valued at $650 million. At the time, Bankman-Fried said the purchase reflected his belief that Robinhood is an "attractive investment" but that he had no intention of changing or influencing control of the firm.
Of course we think it is an attractive investment too. We have the best customer base, are introducing great new products, and we have the team to deliver.— Robinhood Comms (@RobinhoodComms) May 12, 2022
Despite the onset of crypto winter, FTX has shown no signs of slowing its expansion. The exchange recently tabled a $250 million bailout offer to Bitcoin lender BlockFi; earlier this month, FTX entered into an agreement to purchase Canadian cryptocurrency platform Bitvo for an undisclosed amount.
Amid mass layoffs in the crypto exchange business, FTX confirmed earlier this month that it would not be reducing its staff. Bankman-Fried tweeted on June 6 that his exchange plans to "keep growing" for the foreseeable future.
As for Robinhood, the discount brokerage platform has lost roughly three-quarters of its value since debuting on the Nasdaq stock exchange in July 2021. The company's share price was up 13% on Monday but is still down over 75% from its initial public offering.
In the first quarter of 2022, Robinhood's net revenue declined 43% year-over-year to $299 million. Crypto-related revenue declined by 39% to $54 million over the same period.
This article has been updated to include latest comments from Sam Bankman-Fried.