Robinhood Files Draft Plan for I.P.O.



Robinhood and its chief executive, Vlad Tenev, have faced scrutiny over the role the app played in the GameStop trading frenzy. But investors have stood by the company.
Credit…House Financial Services Committee

Robinhood, the stock-trading app, said on Tuesday that it had filed a draft registration to go public, joining a wave of financial technology companies that plan to list on the stock market or that have raised new funding.

The exact timing or price of the offering has not been set. Private market investors have valued Robinhood at roughly $12 billion and some have speculated its initial public offering could top $20 billion. It is working with Goldman Sachs on its offering, a person familiar with the company said.

Robinhood used a process known as filing confidentially that allows it to keep some details under wraps in the early part of going public.

Financial technology companies have been booming. Coinbase, a cryptocurrency start-up, is expected to list its shares in the coming weeks, with investors estimating that it could be worth as much as $100 billion. Stripe, a start-up that offers payment processing services, raised funding this month that valued it at $95 billion, making it the most valuable start-up in the United States.

Robinhood began making plans to go public last year after its growth spiked in the pandemic, with some people using their stimulus checks to day trade.

But it paused those plans in January when a group of online traders banned together to drive up the stock prices of so-called “meme stocks” like GameStop, causing short-sellers to lose money and forcing the exchanges to halt trading of some stocks.

Amid the frenzy, Robinhood restricted the trading of some stocks, outraging many of its users and drawing nearly 50 lawsuits and multiple probes from regulators. Vlad Tenev, the company’s chief executive, was called to testify in front of Congress about the market frenzy and Robinhood’s role in it.

Despite the anger, the GameStop incident boosted Robinhood’s name recognition and led to more downloads of its app, which is popular because it charges no fees for stock trading. Robinhood has been criticized for making day trading into a gambling-like game, where investors don’t always understand the risk they are taking on.

Private investors have stood by the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company. During the frenzy, Robinhood raised two rounds of emergency funding totaling $4.4 billion in a matter of days.

Intel’s new chief executive is doubling down on chip manufacturing in the United States and Europe, a surprise bet that could please government officials worried about component shortages and dependence on factories in Asia.

Patrick Gelsinger, who took the top job in February, said on Tuesday that he planned to spend $20 billion on two new factories near existing facilities in Arizona. He also vowed that Intel would become a major manufacturer of chips for other companies, in addition to producing the processors that it has long designed and sold.

Intel had stumbled in developing new production processes that improve chip performance by packing more tiny transistors on each piece of silicon. The lead in that costly miniaturization race had shifted to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC, and Samsung Electronics, whose so-called foundry services make chips for companies that include Apple, Amazon, Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices.

Some investors and analysts had pushed for Intel to spin off or discontinue manufacturing in favor of external foundries, an approach taken by most other chip companies to increase profits.

But a pandemic-fueled shortage of semiconductors for cars, appliances and other products has underscored the vital role of chip factories in supporting many sectors of the economy. And before the recent concerns, worries about the Asian foundries’ proximity to China had already prompted Congress and several branches of the Trump and Biden administrations to back plans to encourage more domestic chip manufacturing, though funding had not yet been appropriated.

Officials in Europe have also floated proposals for new factories to reduce reliance on foreign-made chips.

The Intel strategy recognizes “that the world no longer wants to be dependent on the ring of fire that is right there next to China,” said G. Dan Hutcheson, an industry analyst at VLSI Research. “It’s very forward-looking.”

TSMC previously announced plans for a new factory in Arizona, a project that it valued at $12 billion and that is expected to receive federal subsidies. Samsung is seeking government incentives for a $17 billion expansion of its facilities in Austin, Texas.

Mr. Gelsinger, who first joined Intel at 18, left in 2009 after 30 years. He served eight years as chief executive of the software maker VMware before Intel’s board persuaded him to replace Robert Swan, who was ousted in January.

Intel said its new global foundry service would operate from the United States and Europe, with further factory additions expected to be announced in the next year. It already runs plants in Ireland and Israel.

“The industry needs more geographically balanced manufacturing capacity,” Mr. Gelsinger said.

While it is committing $20 billion up front, Intel hopes to negotiate with the Biden administration and other governments to get incentives for its manufacturing expansion, said Donald Parker, an Intel vice president.

Though it makes most products in house, Intel has long used external foundries for some less advanced chips. Mr. Gelsinger said the company would expand that strategy to include some flagship microprocessors, the calculating engines used in most computers. That will include some chips for PCs and data centers in 2023, he said, and give Intel more flexibility in meeting customer needs.

But manufacturing will remain the core of Intel’s strategy, Mr. Gelsinger said, despite its recent technical problems.

He said significant improvements were being made in its next production process, which was delayed last summer. Intel also will engage with IBM in a new partnership to develop new chip-making technology, he added.

Mr. Gelsinger’s plans are bound to meet skepticism. Besides recent problems with manufacturing technology, Intel has tried in the past to operate as a foundry for other companies with little success.

But Intel has modified those plans in several ways. For one thing, it will for the first time be willing to license its technical crown jewels — the so-called x86 designs used in most of the world’s computers — so customers can incorporate that computing capability in chips they design for Intel to make, the company said.

Scarlett Johansson in a scene from "Black Widow," which will arrive on July 9 instead of May 7.
Credit…Marvel Studios/Disney, via Associated Press

In another blow to cinemas, which have been desperate for Hollywood to release blockbuster films again, Walt Disney Studios on Tuesday pushed back the release dates of six movies, including “Black Widow,” a hotly anticipated Marvel prequel.

In addition, “Black Widow,” now scheduled for July 9 instead of May 7, and another major Disney movie, “Cruella” (May 28), will premiere on Disney+ at the same time they arrive in theaters, a move that will likely hurt cinemas (lower ticket and concession sales) while helping Disney (higher streaming revenue). Watching each film on Disney+ will cost $30 on top of the service’s $8-a-month subscriber fee.

Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said the decision “reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences.”

Disney pulled “Luca,” the next Pixar film, from theatrical release entirely, saying it would debut exclusively on Disney+ on June 18 for no charge beyond a standard subscription. Disney positioned that shuffle as providing its streaming customers with “a special offering to kick off the summer season.”

The other movies that were delayed include “Free Guy,” an action-comedy starring Ryan Reynolds as a bank teller who finds himself inside a video game; “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” a Marvel extravaganza starring Simu Lieu alongside Awkwafina; and “Death on the Nile,” an all-star remake based on the Agatha Christie mystery.

Disney and other entertainment companies, including WarnerMedia, have shifted their business priorities during the pandemic. Protecting the theatrical marketplace has faded in importance, eclipsed by a race to build Netflix-style streaming services. Disney+ now has more than 100 million subscribers worldwide wondering what shiny, new content offerings are on the way. To the dismay of stars and their agents, WarnerMedia dramatically boosted the profile of its HBO Max streaming service in December by abruptly announcing that 17 movies — the entire 2021 Warner Bros. slate — would be available to subscribers at the same time cinema audiences had access.

Almost all cinemas in the United States are now able to operate with limited capacity. Box office records have recently been set in China, where life has been relatively normal for months.

But Europe, a crucial market for Hollywood megamovies, has been slower to recover. Will enough of the world box office be open by June 25, when “F9,” the next “Fast and Furious” movie, is supposed to arrive in theaters? What about “Top Gun: Maverick,” which is scheduled for July 2?

Disney’s announcement came on the same day that Regal, the No. 2 cinema chain in the United States behind AMC, announced that it would reopen starting April 2 after being closed for six months because of the pandemic. But the company that owns Regal, Cineworld Group, which is based in London, said that a reopening timeline for Europe was less clear.

Cineworld and AMC had no immediate comment on Disney’s announcement.

By selling additional shares, GameStop could reduce the value of the company’s outstanding stock, essentially by increasing the supply.
Credit…Philip Cheung for The New York Times

Shares of GameStop — the struggling retailer at the heart of the trading frenzy that captured the country’s imagination in January — tumbled in after-hours trading on Tuesday as quarterly earnings missed expectations and the company said in a filing it could sell additional shares.

The company’s stock was down roughly 12 percent shortly after 6 p.m. The shares had remained steady amid a brief conference call in which executives presented the company’s results and declined to take questions.

But the stock began to slide after the company said in a separate filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was evaluating whether to sell additional stock “primarily to fund the acceleration of our future transformation initiatives.”

Such a share sale would reduce the value of the company’s outstanding stock, essentially by increasing the supply, in a process called dilution.

The drop in share prices was the latest bout of volatility for a stock that earlier this year became a battleground between a throng of individual traders loosely organized on Reddit and sophisticated hedge funds that had bet aggressively that the shares of the largely brick-and-mortar retailer were doomed to fall.

For a brief moment in late January, the Reddit traders got the upper hand, setting off a so-called short squeeze that sent the share price up more than 1,700 percent in mere weeks. The stock subsequently tumbled, losing nearly all its gains, only to resume its climb late last month. At the close of trading on Tuesday it remained up a remarkable 865 percent this year.

The Trump International Hotel in Washington. Virtuoso will no longer offer the 10 hotels that operate under the Trump brand to its high-end clients.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Virtuoso, a global network of luxury travel advisers, has dropped Trump Hotels from its list of hotel partners and will no longer offer the 10 hotels that operate under the Trump brand as an option to its high-end clients.

Virtuoso is widely considered one of the luxury travel industry’s biggest players, with a global network of more than 1,100 agencies comprising some 22,000 advisers in 50 countries.

Virtuoso advisers typically work with wealthy clients looking for all the hallmarks of upscale trips, from luxury hotels to personalized tours and experiences.

The network’s list of hotel partners is vetted and evaluated every year and reads like a who’s who of aspirational travel: old-school stalwarts like St. Regis, Four Seasons and The Ritz-Carlton; billionaire-approved choices like Aman; and high-end, wellness-focused brands like COMO. The hotels on the list are decidedly exclusive and expensive and carry major weight in the industry.

For travel advisers to join the network, which averaged about $30 billion a year in sales before the pandemic, they must be invited. Invitation is based on several metrics, including sales volume and the proven ability to plan out-of-the-box trips.

When asked about cutting Trump Hotels from its list, Misty Belles, the managing director of global public relations for Virtuoso, said in an email, “As of March 8, 2021, Trump Hotels are no longer part of the Virtuoso network.”

She added: “We consider many variables when reviewing both existing and new network participation. Out of respect for all involved parties, and as a general policy, we do not share comments regarding our nonrenewal and exit decisions.”

The news was first reported by Zenger News, a digital wire service.

Amazon on Tuesday announced that Adam Selipsky, the chief executive of Tableau, will be the next leader of its cloud computing division, a large and profitable business that has transformed how companies around the world operate.

Mr. Selipsky will take the place of Andy Jassy, who takes over as Amazon’s chief executive this summer. The company announced Mr. Jassy’s new role in February, when its founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, said he would leave his day-to-day role and become executive chairman.

Before taking the top job at Tableau in 2016, Mr. Selipsky spent 11 years in senior roles at Amazon Web Services. Three years later, Tableau, which like Amazon is based in Seattle, was bought by Salesforce for more than $15 billion.

“Adam brings strong judgment, customer obsession, team building, demand generation, and C.E.O. experience to an already very strong AWS leadership team,” Mr. Jassy wrote in an email to employees that Amazon also posted online.

Mr. Selipsky’s had run sales, market and support for AWS, an area where it has been spending heavily in recent years to reach larger legacy corporate customers as Microsoft and Google have grown as competition.

AWS produced $45.4 billion in sales and $13.5 billion in operating income last year.

The changes at AWS follow a transition atop Amazon’s consumer business as well. Jeff Wilke, the chief executive of the consumer business, retired this month after more than two decades with Amazon, and Dave Clark, who had run the company’s warehousing and logistics operations, took over the consumer business.

Mr. Selipsky starts at Amazon in mid-May, and after a transition period will take over AWS some time after June.

By: Ella Koeze·Data delayed at least 15 minutes·Source: FactSet

Stocks fell on Tuesday amid new concerns about the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

Europe has been reporting a rise in new virus cases and has been increasing lockdown restrictions. On Tuesday, Germany announced a five-day lockdown over Easter and the extension of existing restrictions until mid-April in an effort to break a spike in coronavirus cases.

Fresh confusion about the AstraZeneca vaccine was also raised on Tuesday morning as U.S. health authorities questioned whether some of the U.S. trial data submitted by the drugmaker was outdated.

The S&P 500 fell 0.8 percent, while the Nasdaq composite dropped more than 1.1 percent. The sharpest declines were in companies that stand to gain the most from a rollback of pandemic-related restrictions, like cruise lines, airlines and retailers. Carnival fell 7.8 percent, while United Airlines dropped 6.8 percent.

Small stocks, which are geared toward the growth outlook in the United States, fell sharply. The Russell 2000 index of small-capitalization stocks dropped 3.6 percent.

The concerns rippled through other financial markets too. Government bond yields, which have been climbing lately in part because of expectations for fast economic growth and the potential inflation that would trigger, also fell. The yield on 10-year government bonds dropped to about 1.63 percent.

The drop in bond yields also came after the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, continued to play down inflation concerns at a hearing before House lawmakers on Tuesday.

In response to a question about whether the $1.9 trillion spending package to combat the virus could cause prices to shoot higher — especially if combined with President Biden’s plan to spend as much as $3 trillion on an infrastructure package — Mr. Powell said the Fed did not expect a lasting surge in inflation.

“We do expect that inflation will move up over the course of this year,” Mr. Powell told the House Financial Services committee, adding that some of the rise would be mechanical as low readings from March and April of last year dropped out of the data and part of it might be driven by a bounce-back in demand.

Oil prices were sharply lower, with West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, down more than 6 percent to below $58 a barrel.

European indexes also ended lower. The Stoxx Europe 600 lost 0.2 percent, and London’s FTSE 100 and France’s CAC 40 fell 0.4 percent.

More than 90 million taxpayers have already received a collective $240 billion in stimulus payments — but not all of them have yet received the full amount they are eligible to get.

The Internal Revenue Service has an explanation, at least for some of them.

Married people who filed their returns jointly may receive their stimulus in two separate installments if their tax return includes something called an injured spouse claim — which a taxpayer can file for if part of their tax refund is withheld over a spouse’s past-due debts, such as federal or state taxes, child support or student loans.

In most cases, the I.R.S. said on Tuesday, the second portion of the payment will be delivered the way you instructed on your tax return — although it’s possible that one portion will be delivered by direct deposit and the other sent by mail. The second portion could be delayed by a few weeks, according to the agency.

Another batch of economic payments will be issued on Wednesday, which may resolve the issue for some couples. But for those still wondering when the relief payment may arrive, the I.R.S. suggested that both taxpayers on the return use the “Get My Payment” tool using their own Social Security numbers to check payment status.

It’s unclear how many taxpayers are affected or if there are other issues also causing delays. But nearly 7,000 people have found their way to a Facebook group titled Half Stimulus Missing/Received Status to trade frustrations and information.

Many other Americans — including some who receive Social Security — are still waiting, too.

Leaders from the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration on Monday about delayed payments to people who aren’t required to file a tax return and who receive benefits from Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, the Railroad Retirement Board and Veterans Affairs. The I.R.S., the letter said, was unable to provide an expected timeline.

“Some of our most vulnerable seniors and persons with disabilities, including veterans who served our country with honor, are unable to pay for basic necessities while they wait for their overdue payments,” the lawmakers wrote.

An I.R.S. spokesman confirmed that the agency doesn’t yet have a date for when those payments might arrive. But those who did file a tax return last year or who registered with the agency’s nonfilers tool for prior stimulus payments should not be affected.




Powell and Yellen Testify on Economic Recovery

The Federal Reserve chair and Treasury secretary testified before the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday on the economic recovery and the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.

“There are 22 million people who say they don’t have enough food to eat, one in 10 adults are hungry in America. I looked at data like these, and I worried that the Covid economy was going to keep hurting millions of people now, and haunt them long after the health emergency was over. We know that when the foundations of someone’s life fall apart, when they lose the roof over their head with the ability to eat dinner every night, the pain can weigh on them for years. Their earnings potential is permanently lowered, and I worried about this happening on a mass scale. That’s why I advocated very hard for the American Rescue Plan, and why it’s my first and my most enthusiastic message today.” “Today, the situation is much improved. While the economic fallout has been real and widespread, the worst was avoided by swift and vigorous action from Congress and the Federal Reserve, from across government and cities and towns, and from individual communities in the private sector. Indicators of economic activity and employment have turned up recently. Household spending on goods has risen notably so far this year, although spending on services remains low, especially in sectors that typically require in-person gatherings. The housing sector has more than fully recovered from the downturn, while business investment in manufacturing production have also picked up.”

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The Federal Reserve chair and Treasury secretary testified before the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday on the economic recovery and the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.CreditCredit…Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, told lawmakers that the economy was healing from the pandemic downturn and continued to play down inflation concerns at a hearing before House lawmakers on Tuesday.

In response to a question about whether the $1.9 trillion spending package to combat the virus could cause prices to shoot higher — especially if combined with President Biden’s plan to spend as much as $3 trillion on an infrastructure package — Mr. Powell said the Fed did not expect a lasting surge in inflation.

“We do expect that inflation will move up over the course of this year,” Mr. Powell told the House Financial Services committee, adding that some of the rise would be mechanical as low readings from March and April of last year dropped out of the data, and part of it might be driven by a bounce-back in demand.

“Our best view is that the effect on inflation will be neither particularly large nor persistent,” he said. And if it does pick up in a more concerning way, “we have the tools to deal with that.”

Mr. Powell testified along with Janet L. Yellen, the Treasury secretary, before the House Financial Services committee on the economic recovery from the pandemic.

Ms. Yellen faced questions on executing Mr. Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic relief legislation. The Treasury Department has been racing to distribute $1,400 checks to millions of Americans, posing a test for Ms. Yellen’s team, which is not yet fully in place.

Ms. Yellen pushed hard for a robust fiscal relief package, and she has suggested that the next bill needs to be focused on addressing longer-term structural issues facing the economy that have led to vast income inequality.

The Regal Cinemas theater in Times Square. 
Credit…Nathan Bajar for The New York Times

Cineworld, the parent company of the U.S. movie theater chain Regal Cinemas, announced on Tuesday that it would reopen its cinemas in the United States in April and in Britain in May as those countries ease lockdown restrictions.

“We have long awaited this moment,” said Mooky Greidinger, the chief executive of Cineworld, which is based in London. “With capacity restrictions expanding to 50 percent or more across most U.S. states, we will be able to operate profitably in our biggest markets.”

Regal Cinemas is the second largest theater chain in the United States, after AMC Theaters. The announcement by Cineworld comes six months after the movie theater chains were forced to shut down across the United States and Britain last October in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The decision affected a total of 45,000 employees in both countries and forced studios to postpone film releases.

Cineworld also announced a multiyear agreement with Warner Bros. starting in 2022 that will allow the chain to show the studios’ films for 45 days in the United States and 31 days in Britain. The deal shortens the typical window that theaters have to show movies before they are released to on-demand streaming services.

The reopening plans in the United States will coincide with the release of two movies from Warner Bros. Pictures, “Godzilla vs. Kong” on April 2 and “Mortal Kombat” on April 16.

“We are very happy for the agreement with Warner Bros.,” Mr. Greidinger said. “This agreement shows the studio’s commitment to the theatrical business.”

Last week, AMC Theaters announced the reopening of nearly all of its U.S. theaters.

The moves come at a time of concern that looser restrictions will lead to a rise in coronavirus cases. On Monday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that relaxed pandemic restrictions could lead to another spike. “If we don’t take the right actions now,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, “we will have another avoidable surge.”

In September, Cineworld reported a pretax loss of $1.6 billion for the first half of 2020. In 2019, 90 percent of the company’s revenue was generated in the United States and Britain.


CreditCredit…By Timo Lenzen

In today’s On Tech newsletter, Shira Ovide looks at one more way technology companies are becoming more like conventional corporations: When they talk about jobs, it’s often a political message.


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