Robinhood to Buy Back Sam Bankman-Fried’s 7.6% Stake in Exchange

  • Robinhood buys back shares from Sam Bankman-Fried for $605.7 million.
  • The US government seized the shares after Bankman-Fried’s bankruptcy.
  • The move comes amid legal challenges for Bankman-Fried.

In a move that has sent ripples through the financial world, Robinhood, the popular online brokerage, has announced a $605.7 million deal to buy back shares from former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried

Once a key figure in crypto, Bankman-Fried acquired his shares of Robinhood at the height of his power. Since then, they were seized by the US government.  

Robinhood’s Repurchase

On Friday, September 1, Robinhood revealed that it had entered into a share repurchase agreement with the US Marshal Service for $605.7 million. The shares, originally owned by Sam Bankman-Fried’s Emergent Fidelity Technologies, were seized and transferred to the US government following the bankruptcy of FTX and Emergent in 2022. 

The sale of the 55.3 million shares at $10.96 apiece received approval from the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. After the announcement, Robinhood’s shares climbed more than 3% in premarket trading.

Sam Bankman-Fried was once a billionaire with a net worth estimated at $26 billion. He became an influential political donor in the US, riding the boom in digital assets like Bitcoin. However, the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, wiped out his fortune. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges related to the collapse of his companies.

Bankman-Fried is currently facing legal challenges, including an upcoming trial in October. A US judge ordered him to be jailed before the trial, citing probable witness tampering. This adds another complexity to Robinhood’s decision to buy back the shares.

Why SBF Bought Robinhood

Sam Bankman-Fried made headlines in May 2022 when he acquired a 7.6% stake in Robinhood. At that time, his cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, was one of the leading platforms in the crypto world. Industry experts perceived the acquisition as a display of Bankman-Fried’s financial prowess and influence. 

According to an affidavit filed on December 27, 2022, the Robinhood shares were purchased using loans from FTX’s sister concern, Alameda Research. These loans were secured between April and May 2022 and funneled through Emergent Fidelity Technologies Ltd, a shell company set up by Bankman-Fried and FTX co-founder Gary Wang.

On the Flipside

  • Sam Bankman-Fried was once a towering figure in the cryptocurrency industry, with a net worth estimated at $26 billion. His influence extended beyond his crypto exchange, FTX, as he became a significant political donor in the U.S. 
  • Most recently, a U.S. judge ordered Bankman-Fried to be jailed before his trial in October, citing probable witness tampering. 

Why This Matters

Robinhood’s share buyback removes them from the uncertainty surrounding Bankman-Fried’s legal issues. It also boosts its stock value. 

Read more about SBF’s political influence: 

SBF Allegedly Used $100M in Stolen Funds for Political Contributions

Read more about the SEC’s latest decision on Bitcoin EFTs:  

Bitcoin Down 4.5% as SEC Puts the Brakes on Spot ETF Excitement 

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