Ahead of an IPO, Robinhood agrees to pay $65 million to settle SEC charges

Robinhood has raised hundreds of millions in recent months as the pandemic has multiplied demand.

Just in: The online brokerage agreed Thursday to pay $65 million to settle accusations from the Securities and Exchange Commission that it misled consumers between 2015 and 2018. The U.S. watchdog said the company failed to adequately execute trade orders at best prices and also failed to disclose how it made much of its money: by selling stock trades.

Robinhood has neither admitted nor denied the accusations. This all comes as Robinhood has been getting its house in order ahead of a rumored IPO in 2021.

A BARKING SPAC: Pet subscription company BarkBox agreed to go public via merger with Northern Star Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company in a deal that will value the company at about $1.6 billion. The duo will list on the NYSE as “BARK.” 

Alongside the capital from the SPAC itself, which is led by Snap and Sonos board member Joanna Coles as well as majority owner of the New York Islanders Jon Ledecky, BarkBox will also get some $200 million from accompanying transactions from investors including Fidelity and Senator Investment Group.

The deal comes amid a surge in interest for pet supplies. Petco filed for an IPO just this month. BarkBox meanwhile is backed by venture capital firms including RRE Ventures and Lerer Hippeau.

THE WORST FIRST-DAY LISTING OF A 2020 UNICORN: Shares of Wish, the discount e-commerce retailer, dropped in their first day of trading Wednesday, valuing the company at $14 billion or so on a fully diluted basis by the end of the day. Falling about 16.6% by the market’s close that day, Wish’s debut is the worst among the 31 billion-dollar-plus companies to have gone public this year. The debut comes as other unicorns seeking to go public such as Affirm and Roblox have pushed their IPO timelines to next year after seeing the much maligned “first-day pops” of DoorDash and Airbnb’s respective listings. When asked why Wish didn’t also push its timeline back, Wish CFO Rajat Bahri told Term Sheet he believed the IPO to be “one step of many,” adding: “There is never perfect timing, and markets are good right now.” How the company performs in the long term is what is key.

Lending marketplace Upstart meanwhile jumped 47% in its debut on Wednesday.

IT’S YOUR LAST CHANCE!: What will 2021 bring for the dealmaking world? I welcome your business predictions from the broad (where will be the strongest areas from M&A?) to the specific (who will Microsoft buy next? Who is the next WeWork?). 

You know where to find me—either email me at Lucinda.shen@fortune.com or tweet at this new Twitter thread by end of day Thursday.

On Friday, I’ll feature highlights from your answers, alongside your name and title, unless you explicitly indicate that you’d only like to use your first name.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda
Email: lucinda.shen@fortune.com


In this week’s episode of our Brainstorm Tech podcast, Michal Lev-Ram talks to Lise Buyer of Class V Group about non-traditional methods of going public: SPACs and the auction model. Both are gaining popularity; Buyer explains why. Then, Brian O’Keefe speaks with Threshold Ventures’ Emily Melton about how the rush to go public looks from the VC world, and what trends she’s seen that will carry over into 2021. Listen to the episode here.

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