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As anyone who has been on Twitter knows, the internet can be a hostile place.
No one understands that better than Andrew Left, a well-known short seller who unwittingly found himself at odds with one of the most powerful groups in the stock market: a Reddit thread known as r/wallstreetbets.
So Far: WallStreetBets, 1. Andrew Left, 0.
What’s The Battle About?
GameStop. The beleaguered video game retailer.
The saga began last August when Chewy.com founder Ryan Cohen began building a position in GameStop. Cohen snapped up 9 million shares, equating to a 13% stake in the company, and last week it was announced he will join the company’s board.
Meanwhile, GameStop is one of the least-favored stocks on Wall Street. According to CNBC, 140% of GameStop’s available shares are sold short (bets against the company).
The Crescendo: The tug of war came to a head late last week when Andrew Left of Citron Research was publicly discussing its short position in GameStop, claiming the company is “pretty much in terminal decline.” Left added fuel to the fire when he described buyers of GameStop stock as “suckers at this poker game.”
Those comments drew ire from what Left described as an “angry mob” of Reddit retail traders who were, he says, acting in a coordinated fashion to push the stock higher:
- When Left attempted to hold a live stream to explain his bearish thesis, he said multiple people attempted to hack his Twitter account and interfere with the video.
- Left claims he is being harassed with unwanted food deliveries and he has even be signed up for Tinder.
Left said he has “never experienced anything like this viciousness,” and he has asked the FBI, SEC, and local law enforcement to investigate the intimidation tactics.
A lot of money is trading hands, and it's not clear how much Citron has left.
On Friday roughly 194 million shares of GameStop were traded, more than eight times its 30-day daily average and trading was halted multiple times.
Over the last two weeks, GameStop shares have climbed more than 225%.
- According to S3 Partners, GameStop short sellers have suffered more than $3.3 billion of mark-to-market losses this year.
- Cohen has notched a paper profit of roughly $500 million.
The Takeaway: GameStop shares are surging higher in pre-market trading this morning. Today will be expensive for someone, one way or another.