Crypto Billionaire Takes Big Stake in Meme-Related Company

The billionaire founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX has taken a big stake in a company at the heart of the meme-stock mania in early 2021.

Samuel Benjamin Bankman-Fried acquired the shares over a two-month period starting in March. Bankman-Fried ranks 171st on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net word of $11 billion. 

Over the period, he accumulated a 7.6% stake in the firm at weighted average prices ranging from $8.28 a share to $13.53.

In total, Bankman-Fried acquired 56,273,469 shares, according to an SEC filing Thursday. The stake was given a valuation of $648.3 million according to the filing.

The company Bankman-Fried is showing such an interest in is Robinhood  (HOOD) - Get Robinhood Markets, Inc. Class A Report. 

The online brokerage firm first drew widespread attention in early 2021 as a vehicle used by novice traders to help bid up the price of so-called meme stocks. 

By generating buzz in investing chat rooms on Reddit about heavily shorted companies, the traders hoped to force prices higher. 

That in turn put pressure on those short the stock to cover their positions, pushing shares even higher in short squeezes.

Robinhood faced criticism and congressional hearings at the time over limits it placed on customers trading during wild gyrations in share prices.

But the company managed to put the controversy behind it as it moved to go public later in 2021. 

However, shares of Robinhood have been in a steady slide since then, ending the regular session Thursday at $8.56.

In the filing, Bankman-Fried said he plans to  hold the shares as an investment, and does "not currently have any intention of taking any action toward changing or influencing the control" of Robinhood. 

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