‘Roaring Kitty’ Boosts GameStop Bet After Exercising Options

(Bloomberg) — The Reddit user who helped fuel the surge in GameStop Corp.’s stock price this year has doubled down on his bet by exercising his call options and buying even more shares.

Keith Gill, who goes by monikers “Roaring Kitty” and “DeepF___gValue,” posted a screenshot of his portfolio showing that he has exercised 500 GameStop call options expiring Friday at a strike price of $12, giving him 50,000 more shares. The stock closed at $154.69 on Friday.

On top of that, Gill bought another 50,000 shares of the video-game retailer, effectively doubling his holdings to 200,000 shares from 100,000 at the beginning of the month. His total investment in GameStop is now worth more than $30 million, giving him a profit of nearly $20 million.

Gill’s mother, Elaine Gill, reached by phone at his childhood home in Massachusetts, confirmed the Reddit screenshots posted by her son.

Gill rose to fame this year as one of the most influential voices on Reddit and YouTube amid an effort by retail traders to squeeze GameStop short-sellers. He testified at a congressional hearing in February, where he said he didn’t call for anyone to buy or sell the shares for his profit.

The comments came as he was hit with a lawsuit that accused him of misrepresenting himself as an amateur investor. The suit alleges that he was actually a licensed securities professional who manipulated the market for profit, which he denied.

GameStop Chief Executive Officer George Sherman, who is expected to leave, disposed of almost $12 million in shares, with the proceeds earmarked by the company to pay compensation-related taxes, according to a regulatory filing Friday. Earlier this week, he forfeited about 587,000 shares after failing to meet performance targets.

The company is looking for a new CEO as part of a shake-up spurred by activist investor and Chewy.com co-founder Ryan Cohen, a person with knowledge of the matter has said.

As part of a corporate overhaul spearheaded by Cohen, the company has brought in new executives, including chief officers for growth and technology as it seeks to move away from its brick-and-mortar business.

GameStop, based in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, Texas, has suffered with the video-game industry’s shift to online distribution. With gamers downloading or ordering software and gear online, there’s less reason to make a trip to a physical store.

Shares of GameStop are up 721% so far this year, though they are less than half of the peak level in January. On Tuesday, the company announced plans to retire senior notes due in two years, leaving it virtually debt free.

(Updates with background on company’s debt. A prior version corrected description of GameStop CEO’s stock transactions.)

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