Meme-trader enthusiasm may be helpful for raising cash through stock sales, but the buzz still hasn’t done enough for the companies’ bottom lines. That’s clear from GameStop’s new earnings report and from the latest moves at
Fresh off a record closing low on Wednesday, shares of AMC Entertainment (ticker: AMC) set another milestone close Thursday, with shares down 5.8% to $8.12. The stock is down 98% from its record closing high of $339.05 in June 2021.
GameStop shares (GME) initially fell in Thursday morning trading, but ultimately closed 0.8% higher. The firm reported on Wednesday an adjusted quarterly net loss of $9 million.
Both companies saw shares surge in parts of 2021 as retail investors, and some hedge funds, piled into the firms’ highly shorted shares. The event has helped the firms amass cultlike interest from certain corners of Reddit and Twitter, where users speculate shares can surge again. Sometimes they do, though to lesser extents. Any gains are generally short-lived, though GameStop stock is still higher than its pre-meme stock levels.
AMC’s operational struggles were closely tied to the pandemic. Covid-19 shutdowns and a slower return to theaters weighed on the firm’s profits. But stocks sales—after the meme rally—helped it weather the storm. Though the firm hit a ceiling in how many shares it could sell without shareholder approval, it navigated around that by issuing preferred equity units to stockholders that voted in favor of expanding the amount of authorized shares and converting the units to common shares. The move allows AMC to sell more stock at better prices. Stock sales are generally considered a negative because they dilute existing shareholders.
AMC will need more than a buzzy Taylor Swift concert film and a new popcorn line to justify the level of interest and investment that it’s received thanks to its meme status. The company is expected to report a full-year 2023 loss of $386 million, according to FactSet. Analysts expect losses of $285 million for 2024 and $209 million for 2025.
GameStop, meanwhile, faced an uncertain future before it became a meme stock. The firm had weathered executive turnover and a transition in the games industry to digital goods that presents an existential threat to GameStop. GameStop is once again facing similar odds, including a CEO firing earlier this year, though its balance sheet has improved with help from at-the-market stock sales after shares took off in 2021.
“Without a clear strategy to replace lost game sales, we think the company will see an acceleration of losses to $100 million annually, then $200 million, $300 million and more, with a likely runway of no more than five years,” writes Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter. “The demise of GameStop is outside the 12-month window we use for our price target, but we expect the company’s demise at some point later this decade.”
The firm’s foray into the world of crypto and nonfungible tokens has been a letdown, and a wave of executives hired after January 2021 have already departed or been fired.
The cash from stock sales have given both GameStop and AMC a second lease on life and afforded them new options on how to proceed forward, but it’s unclear whether those options justify the valuations.
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