According to persons with knowledge of the conversations, Sam Bankman-crypto Fried’s conglomerate FTX is in talks with investors to raise up to $1 billion in new capital, which would maintain the company’s valuation at about $32 billion.
The sources, who requested anonymity because the discussions are private, stated that negotiations are ongoing and that the parameters could alter. Following FTX’s most recent capital round in January, Coindesk previously reported on an upcoming investment with a flat valuation. Tiger Global, SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, and Singapore’s Temasek are among the current investors.
A representative for FTX declined to comment.
The “crypto winter” of this year has hammered its competitors and colleagues, but FTX has tried to position itself as the market consolidator by swooping in to snap up troubled assets at a discount. The Bahamas-based company is privately held, so it hasn’t experienced the stock market collapse of Coinbase, which in 2022 lost three-quarters of its value.
In addition to the $400 million round from January, some of the new funding would be used to support additional deal-making, according to the sources. FTX inked a contract in July giving it the option to purchase the lender BlockFi, and the business was negotiating to buy the South Korean company Bithumb.
In August, FTX also made a “low ball bid” to acquire the bankrupt cryptocurrency brokerage Voyager Digital, but the deal was rejected.
Bloomberg claimed in June that FTX was attempting to acquire Robinhood as well, although Bankman-Fried, who holds a sizable investment in the online broker, has denied that any ongoing negotiations are active.
According to a leaked investor deck, FTX’s sales increased by more than 1,000% in 2021 to $1.02 billion from $89 million the year before, according to a report by CNBC last month. Last year, FTX increased its net profits from $17 million to $388 million. The company’s financials revealed that momentum continued in the first quarter as it brought in $270 million in revenue.
But the market was booming at that time. The second quarter saw a complete collapse of the cryptocurrency market as investors fled the riskiest investments in response to rising interest rates and inflation that reached a four-decade high. Both bitcoin and ether have decreased by more than 60% since the end of March, forcing several brokerages that specialise in cryptocurrencies to liquidate their holdings.
Former Wall Street quant trader Bankman-Fried established FTX three years ago. Bankman-Fried is betting that cryptocurrency will rebound and that he will be well-positioned to seize a significant portion of earnings when it does by continuing to raise money and purchase assets.