Jan 26, 2022 - Economy & Business

Crypto giant Ripple buys back its stock

A dollar bill partially ripped away with code behind it
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ripple, the cryptocurrency company behind XRP, has repurchased all of its Series C shares at a $15 billion valuation. The late 2019 round had raised $200 million led by Tetragon Financial Group at a $10 billion post-money valuation.

Why it matters: This sort of thing is very rare, and comes as Ripple continues to fight SEC allegations that it sold unregistered securities. It also could presage a late 2022 or 2023 IPO for Ripple, which still has over $1 billion on its balance sheet.

ROI: Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells Axios that the Series C investors at one point proposed taking XRP in exchange for their shares, but ultimately got paid out in greenbacks. He adds that the payback was over $300 million, but wasn't quite $350 million because the Series C stock had an accruing dividend and the company had already repurchased a little bit.

The bottom line: Tetragon won by losing. The firm unsuccessfully sued Ripple for its money back after the SEC filed charges. Yes, it had to pay Ripple's legal fees, but it ends up with tens of millions of dollars more than it would have via legal victory.

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