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GameStop shares plunge even as meme stock booster ‘Roaring Kitty’ says company is on the right track

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The meme stock protagonist known as Roaring Kitty took to YouTube Friday to tell his hordes of followers that he still believes GameStop’s management team can turn the struggling video game retailer around.

In a live stream that drew more than 600,000 views Roaring Kitty, whose real name is Keith Gill, posted a screenshot of an E-Trade account that appears to show he continues to hold a sizeable investment in GameStop. But his remarks couldn’t keep shares in the company from plunging almost 40% — a drag on the value of Gill’s investment and a warning about the unpredictability of meme stocks.

Gill’s appearance on YouTube came hours after the release of GameStop’s quarterly results, which showed the company’s turnaround has a way to go. GameStop managed to narrow its losses in the first quarter, but its revenue fell as sales weakened for hardware and accessories, software and collectibles. GameStop also filed paperwork with securities regulators to sell up to 75 million shares of stock.

Gill, who has experience as a licensed securities broker and financial wellness educator, was rambling and unfocused at times during his midday live stream, which ran for nearly an hour and marked his first YouTube video in more than three years.

“No real game plan here, just wanted to hop in, see what’s poppin’,” Gill said shortly after the start of the live stream. He appeared with his right arm in a sling and bandages on his head, face and clothes in an apparent reference to the beating GameStop’s shares were taking.

Gill at times reiterated his belief that GameStop CEO Ryan Cohen is taking the right approach to transitioning the company from a brick-and-mortar seller of video games and accessories to a successful online gaming company.

“I feel like I see enough here I believe this guy might be able to do it,” Gill said, noting that there are no guarantees, however.

“You could lose it all,” he said. “You could lose everything.”

GameStop and Cohen haven’t offered many details of the company’s turnaround plan, and Gill didn’t offer any ideas of his own.

All told, the company based in Grapevine, Texas, said Friday that it lost $32.3 million, or 11 cents per share, for the period that ended May 4. A year earlier, it lost $50.5 million, or 17 cents per share. Its adjusted loss was 12 cents per share. Quarterly sales dropped to $881.8 million from $1.24 billion a year ago. GameStop did not hold a conference call to discuss its financial performance.

As Gill’s live stream went on, GameStop shares sank further. The stock had been down about 20% at $37.29 per share shortly before noon Eastern time, when the live stream was scheduled to begin. It was down just over 40% to $27.65 per share shortly before Gill signed off with an “adios” and “peace!” followed by a short outro video of kittens.

The New York Stock Exchange paused trading in GameStop more than 15 times by early afternoon Friday due to unusually high volatile trading in the stock.

Gill also asserted during the live stream that he was not working with a hedge fund or a large institution, a nod to speculation that he may now have the backing of deeper-pocketed investors.

He briefly displayed a screenshot of an E-Trade portfolio page showing holdings in GameStop that were down more than $235 million as of Friday.

That activity came about three weeks after Gill appeared online for the first time in three years, spiking the price of GameStop at the time. In May, the “Roaring Kitty” account posted an image on X of a man sitting forward in his chair, a meme used by gamers when things are getting serious.

The post on X was followed with a YouTube video from years before when Gill championed the beleaguered company saying, “That’s all for now cuz I’m out of breath. FYI here’s a quick 4min video I put together to summarize the $GME bull case.”

In its filing to sell up to 75 million shares of stock, GameStop noted that between Feb. 4 and June 6, the closing price of its stock has ranged between $10.01 and $48.75, and daily trading volume ranged from 1.7 million shares to nearly 207 million shares.

“During such period, we did not experience any material changes in our financial condition or results of operations that would explain such price volatility or trading volume,” the company said. Going back to January 2021, “the market price of our common stock has seen extreme price fluctuations that do not appear to be based on the underlying fundamentals of our business or results of operations.”

GameStop shares closed Friday down 39.4% at $28.22.

GameStop in 2021 was a video game retailer that was struggling to survive as consumers switched rapidly from discs to digital downloads. Big Wall Street hedge funds and major investors were betting against it, or shorting its stock, believing that its shares would continue on a drastically downward trend.

Gill and those who agreed with him changed the trajectory of a company that appeared to be headed for bankruptcy by buying up thousands of GameStop shares in the face of almost any accepted metrics that told investors that the company was in serious trouble.

That began what is known as a “short squeeze,” when those big investors that had bet against GameStop were forced to buy its rapidly rising stock to offset their massive losses.

By MICHELLE CHAPMAN and ALEX VEIGA
AP Business Writers

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