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FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried denies Robinhood acquisition talks

Yahoo Finance Live anchors discuss Bankman-Fried dispelling reports that FTX is seeking acquisition of Robinhood.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Robinhood shares, let's get a check on those for our thing number three this morning. They are falling back a little bit after a big boost in yesterday's session. That was after FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried said he was not in active discussions to buy the trading platform. Bloomberg had reported yesterday that FTX had had internal discussions about making a bid for Robinhood.

Then Sam Bankman-Fried said in a statement to Yahoo Finance, we are excited about Robinhood's business prospects and potential ways we could partner with them. And he said, I've always been impressed by the business that Vlad-- that is Vlad Tenev-- and his team have built. That being said, there are no active M&A conversations with Robinhood, which doesn't entirely contradict the Bloomberg report, which had said there were internal discussions at FTX about what to do.

So Bloomberg didn't say those discussions had gone external and actually with Robinhood. So eh, you know, it doesn't seem-- from what analysts are saying this morning, it doesn't seem like it's necessarily an imminent acquisition offer.

BRAD SMITH: You know, I think about the consolidation that we've seen within the broader exchange platforms or the trading platforms that have taken place over the past five years. You've had Schwab come in and buy TD Ameritrade. You also had Morgan Stanley buy E-TRADE. And then with all of those deals, even more so, you had a dSPAC that took place that was TradeStation that made its way into the public markets.

And so all of this considered, for Robinhood, or for any potential talks, it's only natural that in a time when there's a pullback like this, where they would be able to look at the company, say even if we made a cash and stock offer, we could add cash onto a depressed share price right now and be able to come in at a premium, which would place the total deal at, what, $10 billion. So somebody's got to at least talk about it internally within the ranks. It's just amazing that it goes public to this extent, at least, before a deal or an offer is made.

BRIAN SOZZI: Any form of deal or partnership, you immediately think Coinbase is the loser here, because you have two players, essentially, key players, two competitors joining forces and getting more economies of scale, more users. They're a loser. Likely, that stock will do what it has continued to do of late. And then secondarily, who leads? Who would lead a combined FTX and Robinhood? I mean, I've seen some of the notes out there on Wall Street kind of questioning that we have two big personalities here in Sam Bankman-Fried and Vlad Tenev. How do you combine those management teams? It's wildly unclear.

JULIE HYMAN: I mean, one of these things is not like the other, I think, in terms of the visibility, in terms of the success. I mean, I think we all remember when Robinhood was first coming public, and that Vlad was out there talking a lot to the press about how great the platform was. And then things started to change.

BRIAN SOZZI: We have two founders, two founders.

JULIE HYMAN: You do, but I think we're talking about very different situations.

BRIAN SOZZI: One of them's going to have to cede control if that deal comes. One of them going to have to be put on the board. And you do get the sense because Robinhood, I would say, is more wounded than FTX in this latest market sell-off. Vlad, maybe he goes on the board. But even still, those are two big personalities to have there, trying to drive a combined company.

BRAD SMITH: Or just a special advisor to the board.


BRAD SMITH: Not even holding a seat.

JULIE HYMAN: Right. I mean, SBF is-- he's in the driver's seat in this. I mean, he owns, what, 7.6% of Robinhood at this point. He has sort of been-- cast himself as the white knight in the crypto space, coming out with some lending facilities for the likes of BlockFi and some others. He's a big charitable giver. I don't know. I think that it's--

BRIAN SOZZI: I notice he didn't completely squash any form of deal or partnership. Why? To your point, he's almost an 8% shareholder of the stock. And I believe he took that position, what, a month and a half ago or around there. And he's been hammered. So of course, he's going to come out here and try to suggest something might be on the table, but it's not going to happen tomorrow.

JULIE HYMAN: I mean, it seems like a partnership is more likely at this-- in the short-term than anything else.