GameStop’s stock price keeps surging in ways no Wall Street expert can understand or explain. If you think this is old news, you are wrong. On March 22, 2023, GameStop’s stock price gained 35% compared to the previous day’s close. It is already up 50% in the past several days.
Assuming that you have been reading and watching the news in recent years, you may have flashbacks to January 2021. At the time, Elon Musk did not own Twitter, there was no war in Ukraine, and Silicon Valley Bank was much more respectable with an all-time high market capitalization of $40 billion.
In case somehow you do not know about the stock market gains recorded by GameStop two years ago, here is an overview. In late 2020, average traders joined hands via a Reddit forum and ingeniously conspired to send the share prices of several firms to the moon. One of the companies was GameStop.
The GameStop stock surged from $1 in the middle of 2020 to nearly $8 in September 2021. In mid-January, it was about $40. Then it exploded to $346 per share by the end of 2021. In the past two years, GameStop’s share price has been wobbly all the way and dropped down to $16 on March 17. That is the lowest it has been since the crazy pumping two years ago.
But, things have gotten weird once more this week. On March 21, GameStop reported its first quarterly profit in two years and the news sent the stock rising to the current price of $24. That is a 50% increase compared to March 17.
Let us pause and look back to January 2021. If you managed to acquire 1,000 shares of GameStop when it was trading at $8, by late January your account would have been worth a staggering $340,000. That would have been an incredible investment. Now imagine if you bought 9 million shares in September 2020 at $8. Ryan Cohen bought these shares.
Who Is Ryan Cohen?
Ten years ago Ryan co-founded the online pet food/toy company Chewy.com. He and his colleague were rejected by more than 100 VC firms before he finally got $15 million in the capital in 2013. In 2016, Chewy raised $230 million. In the same year, the firm generated $900 million in revenue. A year later Chewy raised $350 million.
Later in 2017, the company was purchased by PetSmart for $3.35 billion. PetSmart took Chewy public in 2019 and currently it has a market cap of $43 billion. Cohen cashed out several hundred million in the initial PetSmart sale.
In June 2020 Ryan made headlines when he said he wanted to plow all his fortune into two stocks: Wells Fargo and Apple. His Apple stake allegedly is worth over $500 million now.
As it turned out, he was fibbing a little. He also bought stock in a third company…
In August 2020, Cohen was compelled to make an SEC filing. He was forced to do that since he had been buying shares in the mall video game retailer GameStop and his position had become considerably large, which needed an SEC disclosure.
The size of that position:
9 Million Shares
He spent $8 per share to buy his stake which makes up around 10% of the firm. Cumulatively, Ryan spent $76 million to buy the 9 million shares. For a short time, GameStop stock exploded to $483 on January 21, 2021, and at the time his shares were worth $4.3 billion. GameStop ended January 21 at $193 and at that level Ryan’s stake was worth…
Currently, Ryan Cohen owns 12% of GameStop’s total outstanding shares. On Friday, when GameStop was trading at $16, his stake was worth about $580 million. At the current price of $24, his stake is worth about…
That represents almost a $300 million gain since Friday and a 10x increase on the $76 million he paid to get his shares. In case GameStop’s share price increases to $27, his stake will cross $1 billion once more.
Who could have known that GameStop would rise from a dying mall video game store to a thriving profitable public firm? Apparently: Ryan Cohen.