Investing

Bed, Bath (BBBY) Shareholders Buffeted by Large Meme Player Sales, MindMed (MNMD) Now in Their Sight

Jake Freeman might be the first meme activist.

The 20-year-old New Jersey student, with help from friends and family, burst onto the scene after the Financial Times profiled him and his group’s 6.2% Bed, Bath and Beyond (US:BBBY) stake that’s earned them $110 million in the company’s recent run-up. Bed Bath and Beyond got shellacked on Thursday.

But the intrepid student investor and his backers, along with his former pharma executive uncle, revealed they have another pick on Thursday, psychedelics company MindMed (US:MNMD), and this time they’re investing as activists, hoping to speak to management about the company’s future.

According to his LinkedIn profile, the younger Freeman interned for New Jersey hedge fund Volaris Capital in recent years.

Bed Bath & Beyond shares rallied on Aug. 16 after several news outlets reported that activist investor Ryan Cohen, via his investment vehicle RC Ventures LLC, bought call options on 1.67 million shares expiring January 2023. Following the development, BBBY stock tore higher, closing 29% at $20.65.

But Ryan giveth, and Ryan taketh away. By Thursday Cohen’s venture capital and activist firm RC Ventures said in a regulatory filing with The US Securities & Exchange Commission that had sold its entire roughly 12% stake it acquired since March.

Earlier, meme investors zeroed in on the news that Freeman Capital, Jake and friends’ investment vehicle, had quietly acquired, and since sold, a significant 6.2% in the volatile home goods retailer.

Bed Bath & Beyond shares tumbled 20% on Thursday and closed at $18.59. They continued to fall after hours, shedding another 45% to $10.87. The shares traded as high as $30 during Wednesday’s session.

Speaking out Thursday about Cohen’s trading, the company said in an SEC filing Thursday, “We have been working expeditiously over the past several weeks with external financial advisers and lenders on strengthening our balance sheet, and the company will provide more information in an update at the end of this month. We continue to execute on our priorities to enhance liquidity, make strategic changes and improve operations to win back customers, and drive cost efficiencies; all to restore our company to its heritage as the best destination for the home, for all stakeholders.”

Seth Basham, an analyst at Wedbush, downgraded the shares to underperform and said Cohen’s sale wasn’t the company’s biggest hurdle. “More pressing, however, is BBBY’s cash burn and the prospects for further financing needed to shore up its balance sheet and rebuild supplier confidence,” he wrote.

While Bed, Bath and Beyond was later to the meme game than others, it’s been drawing outsized attention since the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wells Fargo analysts, less diplomatically, noted that the Cohen sale and the stock’s meme-driven August gains prove the shares “have again decoupled from economic reality.”

This article originally appeared on Fintel

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