Sam Bankman-Fried speaks onstage during the first annual Moonlight Gala benefitting CARE – Children With Special Needs at Casa Cipriani on June 23, 2022 in New York City.
Craig Barritt | Getty Images
Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto conglomerate FTX is in talks with investors to raise up to $1 billion in new funding that would keep the company’s valuation at roughly $32 billion, according to people with knowledge of the discussions.
Negotiations are ongoing and the terms could change, said the sources, who asked not to be named because the talks are confidential. Coindesk previously reported on a coming investment at flat valuation, following FTX’s last capital raise in January. Existing investors include Singapore’s Temasek, SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Tiger Global.
An FTX spokesperson declined to comment.
While its rivals and peers have been pummeled in this year’s “crypto winter,” FTX has tried to bill itself as the market consolidator, swooping in to buy distressed assets at a discount. The company, which is based in the Bahamas, is privately held so it hasn’t suffered the stock meltdown of Coinbase, which has lost three-quarters of its value in 2022.
Some of the fresh capital, on top of the $400 million round from January, would go to fuel more deal-making, the sources said. In July, FTX signed a deal that gives it the option to buy lender BlockFi, and the company was in discussions to acquire South Korean Bithumb. FTX also offered to buy bankrupt crypto brokerage Voyager Digital in August but was turned down for what was called a “low ball bid.”
Bloomberg reported in June that FTX was also trying to buy Robinhood, though Bankman-Fried, who owns a significant stake in the online broker, has denied any active discussions are underway.
FTX’s revenue soared more than 1,000% in 2021 to $1.02 billion from $89 million the prior year, CNBC reported last month, based on a leaked investor deck. FTX saw net income of $388 million last year, up from just $17 million a year earlier. Momentum continued in the first quarter, as the company reeled in $270 million in revenue, the financials showed.
But that’s when the market was soaring. Everything tied to crypto turned south in the second quarter, as rising interest rates and a four-decade high in inflation pushed investors out of the riskiest assets. Since the end of March, bitcoin and ether are both down by more than 60%, and numerous crypto-focused brokerages have been forced to liquidate.
Bankman-Fried, a former Wall Street quant trader, founded FTX three years ago. In continuing to raise money and snap up assets, Bankman-Fried is wagering that crypto will rebound and that he’ll be poised to capture a big chunk of profits when it does.
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