Bed Bath & Beyond, the embattled homeware retailer, filed for bankruptcy on Sunday.
Ryan Cohen and Jake Freeman raked in about $180 million in profits on the meme stock between them.
BBBY stock has plummeted from a high of $30 last August to 30 cents as of Friday’s close.
Ryan Cohen and Jake Freeman have been cemented as rare winners from the Bed Bath & Beyond saga. The meme-stock champion and college student cashed out roughly $180 million in combined profits from the homeware retailer’s stock in August – less than eight months before the company’s bankruptcy filing on Sunday.
Cohen, Chewy‘s cofounder and GameStop‘s chairman, invested about $121 million in BBBY in the first quarter of last year. He purchased 9.8% of the homeware retailer, as well as bullish call options on its shares.
The activist investor and meme-stock specialist sold all of the shares and options for $189 million in August, meaning he raked in a roughly $68 million return in the space of eight months.
Cohen bought into BBBY at prices ranging from about $13 to $17, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows. The stock climbed as high as $30 in August, or 100 times its closing price of 30 cents on Friday.
“My views of the business clearly changed,” Cohen, who pushed for changes at the company, said about the disposals last year. He flagged BBBY aggressively repurchasing stock then reporting heavy losses as a major red flag.
Meanwhile, Jake Freeman paid about $25 million for a 6.2% stake in BBBY, which he first revealed in late July. The college student’s Freeman Capital Management sold its entire position less than a month later for over $130 million — close to BBBY’s entire market capitalization at Friday’s close.
Freeman, aged only 20 at the time, said that he bought BBBY stock because it appeared to be priced for bankruptcy. While he saw that outcome as a real possibility if the company didn’t take action, he believed that if it adjusted its capital structure, it could raise more cash and gain more time to save its business.
The math and economics major also attributed his decision to take profits to the sharp rise in BBBY stock — it briefly quintupled during his holding period — and the fact he was headed back to school the next day.
Both Cohen and Freeman nailed the timing of their sales, as BBBY stock has plunged 99% from its August peak. While their sales likely dashed hopes for a turnaround and contributed to the stock’s decline, BBBY’s bankruptcy suggests they got out at the right time.
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