Top GameStop investors reap billions from dizzying stock surge

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The massive surge in GameStop’s stock price has made three of its biggest investors billions of dollars richer.

The video-game retailer’s top individual shareholders racked up a collective gain as large as $5.5 billion as Reddit day traders drove the shares to dizzying heights.

The biggest winner is founder Ryan Cohen, who joined GameStop’s board of directors earlier this month.

Cohen effectively lit the fuse for GameStop’s explosive rally — his view that the chain was primed for a turnaround led rookie traders on Reddit’s “WallStreetBets” forum to buy the company’s shares left and right before they went to war with institutional investors who bet against the stock.

Cohen owns about 9 million GameStop shares for which he paid an average of $9.12 apiece, putting his an initial investment at roughly $82 million, according to Bloomberg data. His 13 percent stake in the company had ballooned to a market value $3.4 billion at Wednesday’s peak share price of $380, giving him a paper profit of more than $3.3 billion.

Donald Foss, the founder of subprime auto lender Credit Acceptance Corp., has reaped a similarly huge gain on his 3.5 million GameStop shares.

The stake he bought for some $15 million, or $4.31 a share on average, was worth as much as $1.3 billion on Wednesday, Bloomberg data show. Forbes pegged Foss’ total net worth at $2.3 billion as of Wednesday afternoon.

And GameStop CEO George Sherman’s 2.4 million shares grew to be worth more than $897 million at Wednesday’s intraday high. He paid an average of $6 apiece, or about $14 million, for the stake, notching him an $883 million paper gain, according to Bloomberg figures.

It doesn’t appear that Cohen, Foss or Sherman have cashed in on the gains by selling shares, though four GameStop board members have dumped some of their stock in recent weeks, according to the company’s securities filings.

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