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GameStop Stock Extends Surge As Chairman Ryan Cohen Boosts Stake To $1.2 Billion

Ryan Cohen's RC Ventures boosted its stake in GameStop this week as the meme stock favorite tests the highest levels of the year.

Updated at 11:20 am EST

GameStop  (GME) - Get Free Report shares surged higher in pre-market trading after an investment group lead by chairman Ryan Cohen unveiled a purchase of around 100,000 shares in the money-losing video game retailer.

Securities and Exchange Commission filings late Tuesday showed that Cohen's RC Ventures LLC, which has also built stakes in Bed Bath & Beyond  (BBBY) - Get Free Report, now owns around 9.1 million GameStop shares representing an 11.9% overall stake in the Grapevine, Texas-based group.

Cohen's RC Ventures also owns a 10% stake the home furnishings retailer, with the former founder pushing for the group to "narrow its focus" and consider an outright sale of the Union, New Jersey-based company.

GameStop shares, which soared 30.7% yesterday, were marked 10.2% higher in early Wednesday trading to change hands at $135.65 each, the highest level of the year. 

Short interest in the shares remains elevated, however, with data from S3 Partners showing just under $1.2 billion in bets against the group, a figure that represents around 12.66 million shares, or 20.1% of the stock's outstanding float.

GameStop reported a wider-than-expected loss of $1.86 per share for its fiscal fourth quarter last week, and managed to record negative free cash flow of $131.6 million even as revenues rose 6.2% to $2.25 billion.

The group, which has put in place a new management team under Cohen, has yet to fully articulate its new strategy and has largely kept its post-earnings updates limited to a brief statement on customer trends and the state of its balance sheet.

That said, GameStop confirmed reports that it plans to develop a market for so-called NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, related to its video game products, following a tie-up with Australian blockchain startup ImmutableX last month and the launch of a dedicated website last year, and plans to launch its NFT marketplace by the second quarter of the current fiscal year.