The eToro logo is seen during the 2021 Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
Stock trading platform eToro agreed to a $120 million secondary share sale, giving the company a slightly lower valuation than the $3.5 billion it was valued at in a primary funding round earlier this year.
The Israeli digital brokerage, which offers users trading in stocks, crypto, and contracts for difference, gave early employees and angel investors a chance to sell shares to some of eToro’s existing investors, according to a memo to employees obtained by CNBC.
The round is a secondary share sale, meaning the company hasn’t issued any new shares and won’t net any income from the transaction. However, it’s an indicator of the price investors are currently willing to pay to own shares of the firm.
It comes after eToro last year scrapped its plans to go public in a merger with a blank-check company, Fintech V.
The deal would have valued the company at $10 billion, but a downturn in equity and crypto prices threw a spanner in the works, as investors reassessed their exposure to tech and retail brokerages suffered a slump in trading activity.
“As a business which continues to demonstrate sustainable, profitable growth we are considered an attractive investment opportunity by many investors,” Yoni Assia, eToro’s CEO and co-founder, said in the Monday memo to employees.
“This secondary transaction will give existing shareholders in eToro and veteran employees who have vested options the opportunity to sell a proportion of their shares to these purchasers.”
“This is not a primary i.e. eToro is not raising money — rather it is a moment for some long standing shareholders and employees to take some liquidity. As always, please maintain confidentiality and do not share any details of this potential transaction with anyone. Employees with eligible options will receive an email with further details.”
EToro most recently raised $250 million from investors at a $3.5 billion valuation, far lower than the $10 billion it was seeking in its bid to float via SPAC.
Investors in that round included SoftBank Vision Fund 2, ION Investment Group and Velvet Sea Ventures. The investment came in the form of an advance investment agreement, which is where investors pay in advance for shares that will be allocated at a later date, sometimes at a discount.
EToro agreed it would convert the investment to equity on the condition that the SPAC deal doesn’t go ahead — which it didn’t.
Earlier this year, eToro signed a partnership with Twitter, now known as X, allowing users of the social media platform to access stock and crypto trading by searching for so-called “cashtags,” which are searchable by adding a dollar sign before the ticker symbol of a stock or other asset.
EToro said it is looking to expand its partnership with Twitter, or X, in a number of ways. The company’s CEO recently met with X CEO Linda Yaccarino in New York to discuss working on expanding their partnership.
EToro, like many online wealth management platforms, benefited from the surge of demand during the Covid-19 pandemic when people were stuck indoors and had more time — and in some cases money — to splash a bit of their excess cash on stocks and other assets.
GameStop, and several other so-called “meme” stocks, skyrocketed in response to heightened retail investor demand which put pressure on short-selling funds.
More recently, online brokerage platforms have had a tougher time. The rising cost of living has made it tougher for consumers to part with the cash they were flush with during the days of Covid. Freetrade, the U.K. brokerage startup, slashed its valuation by a whopping 65% in a crowdfunding round, citing a “different market environment.”
Read the full memo eToro CEO Yoni Assia sent out to staff below:
As August approaches I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the many achievements of H1 and share an outlook for H2.
As outlined in July’s AHM, we had strong business performance in the first half of the year resulting in EBITDA (profits) of over $50 million. Funded accounts now stand at almost 3 million and our assets under administration (AuA) are $7.8 billion. This positive start to the year was driven by the rally in equity markets (in June we saw the highest volume of equities trading since 2021) plus a recovery in crypto markets. We have also maintained our focus on costs to ensure sustainable, profitable growth.
2023 to date has been very busy in terms of product development, launches and partnerships with highlights including: the significant upgrade to our charts via a partnership with TradingView (more coming soon), an ISA with MoneyFarm, major milestones in terms of UX optimization including the new AI assistant, the launch of the amazing new eToro Academy, the launch of extended hours trading, expanding our football sponsorships to include women, adding more assets and so much more.
I also want to update that we were recently approached by several existing investors who have shown an interest in buying more shares in eToro. As a business which continues to demonstrate sustainable, profitable growth we are considered an attractive investment opportunity by many investors. [Please note this is not financial advice!] This secondary transaction will give existing shareholders in eToro and veteran employees who have vested options the opportunity to sell a proportion of their shares to these purchasers. This is not a primary i.e. eToro is not raising money – rather it is a moment for some long standing shareholders and employees to take some liquidity. As always, please maintain confidentiality and do not share any details of this potential transaction with anyone. Employees with eligible options will receive an email with further details.
For those of you taking a well-earned break in August, enjoy your vacation and I hope you come back refreshed and energized for an exciting second half of the year.