Robinhood revenue rises on higher rates, plans share buyback from Emergent

The logo of Robinhood Markets, Inc. is seen at a pop-up event on Wall Street after the company's IPO in New York City
The logo of Robinhood Markets, Inc. is seen at a pop-up event on Wall Street after the company's IPO in New York City, U.S., July 29, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Feb 8 (Reuters) - Robinhood Markets Inc (HOOD.O) reported higher fourth-quarter revenue on Wednesday, as interest income surged at the online brokerage, and announced plans to repurchase its shares from Sam Bankman-Fried's Emergent Fidelity Technologies.

Shares in the brokerage were up nearly 5% in extended trading after results.

"Our Board authorized us to pursue purchasing most or all of our shares that Emergent Fidelity Technologies bought in May 2022," said Chief Financial Officer Jason Warnick.

The ownership of the stock, however, still remains in flux amid multiple legal hurdles.

In January, a U.S. attorney told a judge that prosecutors were in the process of seizing shares tied to Bankman-Fried who has been charged with fraud in the collapse of the major cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

"We're prioritizing to make sure we get these shares free and clear of any claims," Warnick said in a call with journalists adding Robinhood will work with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Net interest revenue soared 165% to $167 million in the fourth quarter, as the brokerage's margin investing business benefited from the U.S. central bank's monetary policy tightening campaign to combat decades-high inflation.

Reuters Graphics

Taking some shine off gains from higher rates, retail traders, who had used Robinhood's platform through most of 2021 to pump money into so-called meme stocks, pulled back amid volatile market conditions. As a result, transaction-based revenue declined 30% in the quarter.

"The core business is deteriorating as many retail investors sold all the stocks they bought in aggregate in 2020-2021 during the downturn in 2022," said Thomas Hayes, chairman and managing member at investment firm Great Hill Capital.

Net loss in the quarter narrowed to 19 cents per share, compared with 49 cents per share last year.

The Menlo Park, California-based company reported revenue of $380 million in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with $363 million a year earlier.

Reporting by Manya Saini in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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