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UPDATE 2-Israel's eToro to go public through $10.4 bln SPAC deal backed by SoftBank, others

· 03/16/2021 07:24
UPDATE 2-Israel's eToro to go public through $10.4 bln SPAC deal backed by SoftBank, others

Adds deal details, background

- Online stock brokerage eToro has agreed to go public through a merger with a blank-check firm backed by banking entrepreneur Betsy Cohen, in a $10.4 billion deal backed by SoftBank's 9984.T Vision Fund 2.

EToro competes with Robinhood, which has become hugely popular with young investors for its easy-to-use interface. Robinhood has emerged as a gateway for amateur traders challenging Wall Street hedge.

The deal with FinTech Acquisition Corp V FTCV.O, a special purpose acquisition company, will include a $650 investment from leading investors including Vision Fund 2, Fidelity Management & Research Co LLC and Wellington Management.

Founded in 2007, eToro has 20 million registered users who can manually invest in cryptocurrencies, stocks, commodities, exchange traded funds and more, while those who lack time or experience can automatically copy the trades of others on the platform.

Special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, are shell companies that use proceeds from an IPO to take private firms public.

Cohen, who founded Jefferson Bank and Bancorp Inc, is one of the prominent businesswomen who have joined the SPAC frenzy.

EToro joins a wave of Israeli tech companies and startups including mobile gaming company Playtika Holding Corp PLTK.O, that are going public in the U.S. to take advantage of the capital markets boom.

In 2020, eToro added over 5 million new registered users and generated gross revenues of $605 million, a 147% jump from a year earlier.

Bitcoin accounts for one of every 25 positions opened on eToro, while the most popular stocks are Tesla Inc TSLA.O, Microsoft Corp MSFT.O and Apple Inc AAPL.O, according to the company's website.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Shounak Dasgupta)

((noor.hussain@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; Outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2663 or +91 80 3796 2663))