Robinhood is known for its association with “meme stocks.” Now the stock trading app could become one.
On Wednesday, Robinhood priced its initial public offering at $38 a share, the company said, valuing it at $31.7 billion. It raised $1.89 billion from the offering, setting the stage for the company to start trading on Thursday under the symbol HOOD.
The price was at the low end of Robinhood’s initially disclosed range of $38 to $42, in a sign of possible investor hesitance. Robinhood’s bankers have said they expect the early trading of the stock to be more volatile than those of other IPOs.
Robinhood’s offering is being closely watched, even amid the most frenzied year for listings since the dot-com bubble of 2000. The company’s role in facilitating stock trades, its mission to upend Wall Street and its string of recent controversies have made it a symbol of Silicon Valley disruption and the challenges that come with it. It has also been closely identified with driving the roller-coaster trading of “meme stocks” like GameStop and AMC Entertainment this year.
Robinhood, which has said it wants to democratize finance, also sold a large chunk of its offering directly to its users via its app. That will test whether its customers will hold the stock or quickly dump it. Robinhood had angered customers when it halted certain trades in January, prompting some to plot to flip or bet against the company’s stock when it listed its shares.
The company has also faced several lawsuits and regulatory inquiries over its business. On Tuesday, it said in a filing that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority was investigating its founders’ compliance with registration requirements.
That follows a $70 million fine that Robinhood paid to FINRA in July for misleading customers and harming them in outages. Last year, the company also paid $65 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission for misleading customers.
Over the weekend, Robinhood’s founders, Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, hosted a public version of its investor presentation for customers, taking questions about regulations and its business model. Mr. Tenev marveled at Robinhood’s rapid growth, while noting it had also “led to some real challenges.”