What happened

Shares of energy driller Torchlight Energy Resources (TRCH) fell as much as 19% in morning trading on June 17. By around noon EDT the stock had clawed back some of those losses and was sitting with a drop of about 16%. Some of the drop could be a giveback from June 16, when the stock was in rally mode. However, there's so much going on with Torchlight Energy Resources lately that the shares have been on something of a roller coaster ride for a long time.

So what

In late 2020 Torchlight Energy Resources agreed to merge with Canada's Metamaterial. This, however, isn't a simple business combination, it is a way for Metamaterial to get a U.S. listing. In fact, following the merger, the company plans to exit the exploration and production business altogether. There are a lot of moving parts in this very complex deal. Progress has been slower than expected as well, leading to numerous news-driven price spikes and declines over the first half of 2021. But it looks like it will be consummated relatively soon.  

Two people in the front seat of a roller coaster.

Image source: Getty Images.

On top of that, it appears that the Reddit message boards have taken a shine to Torchlight. That was a big part of the story in yesterday's large price advance. So there's a very real possibility that today's drop is related to nothing more than the mercurial mood of Reddit investors. However, there has also been material merger news over the last few days, including a preferred share dividend (which will effectively track the energy business after the merger is complete) and, yesterday, the announcement of a $100 million share sale. Both are important steps along the way to finalizing the merger and suggest that it will soon be a done deal. The stock sale, however, will dilute shareholders, which is generally not a good thing and could also be the cause of the sell-off today. There are so many moving parts right now, it's hard to tell what fact or facts are spurring investors.  

Now what

Most investors will probably be better off watching this show from the sidelines. The merger between Torchlight and Metamaterial is complex and will fundamentally change Torchlight. While the deal appears to be nearing completion, the legacy Torchlight assets still have to be exited in some way, so the complexity here won't end when the deal is closed.