Trading platform EToro, a rival to Robinhood Markets Inc., plans to go public via a merger with a blank-check firm led by serial dealmaker Betsy Cohen.
The agreement with FinTech Acquisition Corp. V values the combined company at about $10.4 billion, according to a statement Tuesday confirming a Bloomberg report. The companies are raising about $650 million in equity to support the deal.
Investors in the equity transaction included ION Investment Group, Softbank Vision Fund II, Third Point LLC, Fidelity Management & Research Co. and Wellington Management, the statement shows.
EToro became a member of the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc., or Finra, in the last year and is expected to start providing stock-trading service in the U.S. in the second half of 2021, according to the statement.
In the past year, brokerages have seen a surge in retail investors, who made up about 20% of U.S. equity trading in 2020, according to Bloomberg Intelligence data. One of the major beneficiaries has been Robinhood, the Menlo Park, California-based brokerage that EToro will compete against as it seeks to grow in the U.S.
Robinhood has attracted increased scrutiny from watchdogs and politicians over the past year, including for how it attracts users and for its customer service practices.
“As we grow our business I think we understand the level of responsibility that we have for customers to understand the importance of risk management and education on the platform,” said EToro CEO Yoni Assia in an interview.
Assia also said that the company will consider adding options trading to its platform.
Click this link to watch Bloomberg TV’s interview with Betsy Cohen
Like its rivals, EToro offers zero-commission trading. Unlike U.S. firms, EToro doesn’t make money by customer orders to trading firms that fulfill them in a business called payment-for-order flow, a practice that is prohibited in Europe. Instead, EToro primarily pockets a spread between the price its pays for securities and the price it passes along to customers.
Assia said the company will keep its options open on new revenue streams as it expands its U.S. presence.
It also brands itself as a social trading network, where investors can share their opinions and market exploits, and copy bets made by the best performers on the system.
“EToro is a social investment and social trading company where people actually learn, not a game where you trade as much as you can and then go – bingo,” said Cohen, chairman of Fintech Acquisition Corp V.
The special purpose acquisition company raised $250 million in December. Cohen, its chairman, has been involved with several blank-check companies, including one taking boutique investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners public.