Robinhood to buy shareholder-communications company Say

NEW YORK (AP) — Robinhood, the trading app that’s brought millions of new investors to the stock market, is buying a company that helps people communicate with the businesses whose shares they buy.

Robinhood Markets said Tuesday that it agreed to buy Say Technologies for about $140 million in cash. Say helps publicly traded companies hear what questions their investors want answered, and it helps investors vote at companies’ annual meetings on everything from whether the CEO is overpaid to who should sit on the board of directors.

“We share a common goal of eliminating the barriers that keep people from participating in our financial system,” Robinhood Chief Product Officer Aparna Chennapragrada said in a blog post.

Say’s Q&A platform allows investors to ask questions of companies, with investors voting on which questions they most want answered.

After the earnings release for AMC Theatres on Monday, for example, executives took questions first from their investors through the Say platform. Only after them did the executives take questions from Wall Street analysts. The first question was about whether AMC would pay a dividend again, one that got 63,500 votes from investors. CEO Adam Aron told them it cannot pay a dividend until about a year from now, at the earliest.

Shares of Robinhood flipped from a small loss to a gain of 1.5% in the first few minutes of trading on Tuesday. They’ve swung sharply since they began trading in late July at $38, bouncing between $33.25 and $85.

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