GameStop stock jumps after ‘Papa Cohen’ buys more shares

GameStop (GME) shares opened 11% higher on Wednesday after chairman Ryan Cohen bought 100,000 shares of the video game retailer. Reports of the purchase revealed by a regulatory filing surfaced after the bell on Tuesday. But the stock had been heavily bought during that day’s session. Shares have gained 48% over the past two days.

Cohen, dubbed “Papa Cohen” by retail traders, now owns 11.9% of the company. On Tuesday he tweeted, “I put my money where my mouth is.”

GameStop shares were trading above $133 each on Wednesday afternoon, after weeks of volatility. On March 14th, the stock was trading as low as $76.11.

Cohen recently took a 9.8% stake in retailer Bed Bath and Beyond (BBBY) and sent a letter to the board pushing for changes, including a possible sale of the company. His stake in BBBY is reminiscent to his strategy to overhaul GameStop last year.

Cohen is the key figure behind GameStop’s turnaround strategy and C-suite changes last year. Few details have been publicly given about the company’s digital transformation.

GameStop reported its latest quarterly results last week, and reiterated its plans for an NFT exchange.

During GameStop’s latest earnings call, CEO Matt Furlong said, “The first year of our transformation was about starting to turn GameStop into a customer-obsessed technology company.”

He went on to say, “We invested in a dedicated blockchain team and new capabilities to drive the development of initiatives such as our NFT marketplace, which we expect to launch by the end of the second quarter. We see significant long-term potential in the more than $40 billion market for NFTs.”

Fulong’s comments highlighted a radical type of way to approach changes at the company.

“We have learned from the mistakes of the past decade, when GameStop failed to adapt to the future of gaming. It is important to stress that GameStop had become such a cyclical business and so capital starved that we have had to rebuild it from within,” he said.

Ines is a markets reporter covering stocks from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre

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