For all the daytrader anguish and congressional fury at Robinhood for its decision to throttle and/or halt trading in some of the most popular meme stocks, there appears to have been no long-term damage to the "free" trading platform. That's at least what the company is seeking to telegraph to the market by confidentially submitting IPO plans to the SEC.
Reuters reports that it was not immediately clear whether Robinhood has filed for a traditional initial public offering or a direct listing, but the company had considered going public through a direct listing in the weeks leading up to the filing, when it wasn't sure if the company's underwriter would be able to drum up enough institutional support (in a direct listing, a company does not sell any shares in advance of its market debut, as is the case with IPOs, and is viewed as a generally far easier way to go public absent being subsumed into a SPAC of course). The company could go public as soon as late in the second quarter but the timing could change, Bloomberg reported citing unnamed sources.
Back in December news broke that the online brokerage had picked Goldman Sachs to lead preparations for a stock market flotation. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that the company has picked Nasdaq as the venue for its listing.
In February, Robinhood - which had become hugely popular with young investors for its easy-to-use interface and its "free" trades which subsequently everyone learned were not free at all but merely a way for Citadel to buy retail orderflow in bulk to capitalize on constantly changing trends in the market - faced criticism after it was forced to curb trading in certain stocks during this year’s social-media fueled retail frenzy due to a 10-fold rise in deposit requirements at its clearinghouse.
The company also raised $3.4 billion in emergency funds after it came close to collapse due to the massive jump in retail trading and to comply with a request from the industry’s clearinghouse..
The funding rounds were led by Ribbit Capital and included existing investors ICONIQ, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Index Ventures and New Enterprise Associates. The funding valued Robinhood at around $30 billion, according to people familiar with matter.