Taylor Tepper, 27 January 2021
There’s something very weird happening in shares of GameStop (GME).
A market frenzy has pushed the shares of the Grapevine, Texas-based video game retailer up more than 3,000% in just a few months—far, far outsripping the market as a whole. A once-dormant brick-and-mortar retailer with sagging sales, GameStop was worth $300 million in August 2019. Today it has a market cap of almost $20 billion.
Nobody knows what it’ll be worth tomorrow.
GameStop has not invented an addictive new gaming platform. GameStop has not rolled out an awe-inspiring online gaming delivery service. GameStop is a store at the mall. That doesn’t bode well for revenue, given that state governments have imposed rolling lockdowns and stay-at-home orders to limit the spread of Covid-19. And yet here we are.
Wall Street is now collectively speculating on the identity of the mysterious seller or sellers. The liquidation triggered price swings for every stock involved in the high-volume transactions, rattling traders and prompting talk that a hedge fund or family office was in trouble and being forced to sell.
Several major investment banks with ties to hedge fund Archegos Capital Management LLC liquidated holdings, contributing to the slump in share prices of ViacomCBS and Discovery, IPO Edge reported, citing people it didn’t identify. CNBC reported forced sales by Archegos were probably related to margin calls on heavily leveraged positions. Archegos is controlled by former Julian Robertson protege and Tiger Management analyst Bill Hwang.
Maeve DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman, declined to comment. A spokesperson for Morgan Stanley declined to comment. A person reached at Archegos’s New York office on Friday declined to comment. An email sent to Hwang seeking comment wasn’t returned.