Robinhood constructing platform to permit customers to purchase into IPOs, sources say

The Robinhood web site residence display on a smartphone.

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Photos

Robinhood is constructing a platform to “democratize” preliminary public choices, together with its personal, that will enable customers of its buying and selling app to snap up shares alongside Wall Road funds, based on individuals conversant in the matter.

The transfer might additional erode Wall Road’s grip on inventory market flotations. It will be simpler to implement for Robinhood’s personal IPO, given how firms and their funding bankers tightly management allocations to traders in new listings.

Presently, Robinhood customers and different beginner merchants can’t purchase into inventory of a newly listed firm till its shares begin buying and selling. Since shares usually commerce greater after they debut, massive funds that get allocations within the IPO have a bonus. The common first-day buying and selling pop on U.S. listings of companies in 2020 was 36%, based on information supplier Dealogic.

Robinhood plans to carve out a bit of its shares on provide in its IPO for its 13 million customers, and to make use of expertise it’s constructing to manage this a part of the providing, the sources mentioned.

Whereas Robinhood’s expertise can be new, the idea of reserving shares for customers just isn’t. Deliveroo Holdings Plc, the Amazon.com Inc-backed meals supply agency that introduced plans this month to record in London, is doing this, though a third-party supplier is administering the method.

Extra novel are Robinhood’s ambitions to let customers straight purchase into IPOs of different firms. It will want to barter agreements with firms and their brokerages and get the blessing of U.S. regulators, the sources mentioned. Robinhood might have leverage in these negotiations by arguing it could be appearing as a bridge between the IPO and a serious pool of investor demand, the sources added.

It was not clear what sort of preparations Robinhood would search to place in place, and no certainty its ambition will come to fruition, mentioned the sources, who requested anonymity as a result of the matter is confidential. Robinhood declined remark.

Offering entry to IPOs might enhance Robinhood’s enchantment with customers, a few of whom criticized it over restrictions it positioned on buying and selling of closely shorted “meme shares” equivalent to GameStop Corp following a Reddit-driven shopping for frenzy earlier this yr. Robinhood mentioned its clearinghouse pressured it to position the curbs as a result of it lacked ample capital to settle the trades.

The transfer might additionally enhance Robinhood’s valuation in its personal IPO, because the providing would worth in extra demand for the shares that will usually have come via solely after the inventory market debut.

On Tuesday, Robinhood introduced it had confidentially filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Alternate Fee for its IPO. Whereas the corporate has but to reveal particulars, the providing might occur in coming weeks and worth Robinhood at as much as $50 billion, the sources mentioned.

Robinhood’s plans to let beginner merchants purchase into IPOs signify the most recent try by Silicon Valley corporations to disrupt the standard IPO. A lot of firms, together with Slack Applied sciences and Palantir Applied sciences Inc, have listed straight with out utilizing funding bankers.

The transfer would antagonize Wall Road, which is accustomed to getting massive allocations in IPOs. Fund giants equivalent to BlackRock Inc and State Road Corp have argued they’re higher homeowners of firms than day-traders, as a result of they stick to firms for the long term.

The Menlo Park, California-based firm was based in 2013 by Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev with the intention of “democratizing finance”, by giving individuals entry to markets usually dominated by skilled traders.

Backed by traders together with Andreessen Horowitz, Ribbit Capital and 9Yards Capital, its platform permits customers to make limitless commission-free trades in shares, exchange-traded funds, choices and cryptocurrencies.

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