Roaring Kitty sends hidden message to GameStop CEO Ryan Cohen

Does Roaring Kitty have grander plans than simply making a boatload of money with his GameStop trades? Might he be angling to exert actual influence over the brick-and-mortar retailer’s ongoing transformation by demanding a seat on the board? 

On Thursday, the meme stock trader extraordinaire, a.k.a. Keith Gill, posted an update to Reddit showing he has made $58 million so far since first revealing his position in the company at the start of this month. 

But Gill’s loyal band of small shareholders in GameStop, whose business selling physical copies of video games threatens to be crushed by the shift toward cloud gaming, saw a hidden message.

One week ago Gill was poised to become a billionaire on paper during his first livestream in three years, just one day before turning 38 years old.

GameStop chairman and CEO Ryan Cohen foiled his plans that very day, showering the market with 75 million newly issued shares—a 20% capital increase—to rake in $2 billion, tanking the stock in the process.

In a joke, Gill later appeared on the stream with his right arm in a sling and a bandage wrapped around his head, laughing off the misfortune and downing a beer to celebrate his birthday. But with his latest trade, the jokester known for communicating through pop culture memes may now have sent a very serious message to Cohen. 

In a screenshot posted to Reddit, where he goes by the name DeepF–kingValue, Gill finally revealed the answer to the biggest question everyone was asking: What would he do with the 120,000 call options that were due to expire if not exercised by June 21?

Judging from the evidence he wanted everyone to see, it appeared as if Gill had closed out his entire position by the end of trading yesterday, liquidating 79,990 contracts while taking delivery of the rest in stock. 

However he managed it, his holdings went from precisely 5 million shares, where they had been since the very first Reddit post earlier this month, to 9,001,000 shares—no more, no less. 

GameStop investors were quick to point out this wasn’t by accident, nor was it coincidence. This seemingly random figure equated exactly to the number of shares owned by GameStop CEO Cohen when he announced in a December 2020 SEC filing that he had raised his GameStop stake to 12.9%. 

A month later, the Chewy cofounder was on the board of the company. That very year George Sherman vacated his position as CEO and by late last year, the activist investor Cohen was named chairman and CEO.

Some believe this oblique reference to Cohen may explain a meme Gill posted earlier this week from The Office, in which the fictional Michael Scott wears a short-sleeved shirt from whose pocket a kitty is poking out. In it a younger, awkward looking Scott is meeting his boss—potentially a sly homage to the GameStop chair and chief executive (who is actually Gill’s same age).

While Gill may have the same number of shares as Cohen did back then, he doesn’t have the same influence. That’s because the retailer has since executed a four-to-one stock split along with two recent at-the-market offerings that combined inflated the shares in circulation by nearly 40%, or 120 million.

According to a filing this week, Cohen has let his 12% stake from April be diluted to just 8.6% as of June 10. By comparison, Gill’s screenshot suggests he controls 2.1% of the shares.

GameStop is scheduled to hold its annual shareholder meeting on Friday. It was scheduled for yesterday, but adjourned as soon as it began owing to technical difficulties. 

The company didn’t respond to a request from Fortune for comment.

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