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Robinhood aims for $35 billion price tag in blockbuster IPO

<i>Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images</i><br/>Robinhood
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett
Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

By Matt Egan, CNN Business

Robinhood could soon be worth $35 billion.

The booming yet controversial trading app said Monday it plans to raise up to $2.3 billion in an initial public offering.

Robinhood, which plans to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “HOOD,” anticipates selling shares for between $38 and $42 apiece.

That translates to a market valuation of between $27 billion and $35 billion, assuming Robinhood’s underwriters exercise their full option to buy shares. That would make Robinhood more valuable than about two-thirds of the S&P 500, putting it somewhere near Yum Brands, Corning and HP.

Despite a series of controversies, Robinhood is likely to be a hot IPO because it’s growing rapidly as retail investors pile into the stock market boom.

Robinhood’s revenue spiked 245% to $959 million last year, allowing the trading app to make a small profit.

Founders in control

The IPO will leave Robinhood CEO and co-founder Vlad Tenev and co-founder Baiju Bhatt with heavy influence over the company.

Robinhood plans to sell 52.4 million shares in the IPO. Tenev and Bhatt are also selling another 2.6 million shares in the deal.

After the IPO closes, all Class B shares will be owned by Tenev and Bhatt. Tenev will control about 7.9% of Robinhood’s outstanding stock as well as 26.2% of the voting power of the outstanding stock, according to filings.

Bhatt, now the chief creative officer and a director, will hold a 7.9% economic interest and 39% of the voting power.

The IPO comes despite a flurry of legal and public relations troubles for Robinhood. The company’s business model is under scrutiny from regulators following the GameStop trading saga. Critics argue that Robinhood’s reliance on payment for order flow, where it receives revenue for routing trades to high-speed traders, is rife with conflicts of interest.

Last month, Robinhood was slapped with the largest-ever fine from Wall Street’s self-regulator over allegations it misled investors. Robinhood recently reached a settlement with the family of Alexander Kearns, a 20-year-old trader who died by suicide in 2020 after seeing a negative balance of $730,000 in his Robinhood account and mistakenly believed he owed that amount.

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