Robinhood’s Nasdaq Debut Taps Big Law Firms Cravath, Davis Polk

July 29, 2021, 5:09 PM

Cravath Swaine & Moore and Davis Polk & Wardwell took top roles in the initial public offering Thursday of popular stock trading app Robinhood Markets Inc.

Cravath is representing the company in the IPO. The S-1 filing by Robinhood on Tuesday ahead of its IPO debut showed that the company has paid the firm $10,030,000 in legal fees and expenses.

Davis Polk & Wardwell is representing underwriters led by Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JP Morgan Chase & Co.

The IPO shows how Robinhood’s quick rise in popularity translated into large fees for Big Law. The company’s free app became a juggernaut during the pandemic, with millions of Americans trapped at home flocking to the platform.

Robinhood made its Nasdaq debut with shares opening at $38, valuing the company at around $32 billion. Shares fell as much as 7.9% in early trading.

Andrew Pitts, head of Cravath’s capital markets practice for North America, as well as partner D. Scott Bennett and associate Claudia Ricciardi, advised Robinhood on capital markets matters. The trio were a part of the Cravath team that advised Robinhood earlier this year in its $3.4 billion capital raise.

John White, chair of Cravath’s corporate governance and board advisory practice, and Mark Greene, head of the firm’s corporate department, led the company on corporate governance and board advisory matters.

Davis Polk partners Byron Rooney, Emily Roberts and counsel Dan Gibbons led the team advising the underwriters on the deal.

Beyond its IPO, Cravath has represented Robinhood in nearly 12% of its federal litigation cases over the last five years, according to Bloomberg Law data. The cases include several lawsuits filed against the company earlier this year by retail traders and other investors related to the company’s decision to curb trading for companies like GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.

Earlier this month, Robinhood disclosed its plans to go public in an S-1 filing, a day after it agreed to pay a nearly $70 million fine as part of a settlement with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. FINRA accused the company of misleading customers and having weak technology oversight, among other infractions.

The filing also showed that Robinhood gave its chief legal officer, Daniel Gallagher Jr., a pay package valued at over $30 million last year, the bulk of which came from more than $24.6 million in stock awards.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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