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Activist Investor Ups Stake in GameStop to 13%

By Rich Duprey - Dec 22, 2020 at 11:20AM

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The Chewy founder says he still wants to have constructive conversations with the video game retailer.

GameStop's ( GME 4.71% ) activist investor, Ryan Cohen, founder of online pet supplies leader Chewy, upped his stake in the video game retailer to almost 13%, according to an SEC filing last week. But Cohen says he's not going to be making any waves -- at least not yet.

Cohen's RC Ventures first revealed back in September that he was looking to shake things up at GameStop by positioning the retailer as an online leader, entering into e-commerce beyond just video games. 

Man playing a video game in a vidoe game store

Image source: Getty Images.

To do that, he wants GameStop to sell most of its physical stores, concentrating on only just the most profitable locations. Although the retailer has offered hints it's heard what he's saying, such as signing deals with Microsoft to get a cut of sales related to gaming, or selling Vizio TVs, GameStop has yet to take actions that fully embrace what RC Ventures envisions.

That annoyed Cohen, who previously excoriated management for destroying shareholder value. He fears the boomlet GameStop is enjoying due to the pandemic will convince management it's actually on the right path.

However, he was somewhat more conciliatory in his latest filing. Saying RC Ventures "engaged, and intend to continue to engage, in discussions with" GameStop's board on how best to drive shareholder value creation. He also said he wants "to come to an amicable resolution with" the retailer.

However, with the stake in GameStop now grown to over 9 million shares for a 12.9% position, RC Ventures says it "will not hesitate to take any actions that they believe are necessary to protect the best interests of all stockholders."

Some analysts, though, scoff at the notion the video game retailer can become a force in online gaming, with Benchmark analysts calling it "comical" to believe GameStop could effectively compete against Amazon.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Stocks Mentioned

GameStop Corp. Stock Quote
GameStop Corp.
GME
$174.99 (4.71%) $7.87
Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
MSFT
$334.90 (2.67%) $8.71
Amazon.com, Inc. Stock Quote
Amazon.com, Inc.
AMZN
$3,541.45 (3.33%) $114.08
Chewy, Inc. Stock Quote
Chewy, Inc.
CHWY
$61.29 (2.94%) $1.75

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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