What GameStop Might Actually Fetch in a Buyout

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If one company has been a victim of the change in retail and in the selling of video games, GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) would certainly be a prime example. GameStop’s stock has struggled for years and the company has been the subject of more rumors in recent years than can easily be counted. A fresh rumor that GameStop may be involved in a takeover sent shares up over 8% late on Monday.

Now GameStop has confirmed that the company is in exploratory discussions with third parties regarding a potential transaction. The company did not specify what that potential transaction might actually look like, and it also included a warning that there are no assurances that any agreement will result from these discussions.

Many investors have believed that GameStop has no real future as the video game distribution model is moving to a more direct download model. This has not been an instant blow, but it has been years in the making. While GameStop operates over 7,200 stores across 14 countries, the company includes ThinkGeek and over 1,300 Spring Mobile AT&T and Simply Mac stores in its network of stores and consumer brands.

GameStop was the subject of bad news earlier in 2018 after Michael Mauler resigned as CEO after just a few months on the job. At the end of May, GameStop named long-time board member Shane Kim as interim chief executive.

Short sellers have remained perpetually aggressive in their bets against GameStop. The most recent short interest data showed that some 44,122,700 shares were held short. That represents nine days to cover, as well as a whopping 44.66% of GameStop’s entire share float.

On Monday, Reuters noted that Sycamore Partners was among the firms interested in GameStop.

GameStop shares closed up 8.9% at $15.20 on Monday, but shares were up only fractionally at $15.21 early Tuesday. Unfortunately for those looking for a fair value price, the analyst community is negative or cautious in general; Thomson Reuters has a consensus analyst target price of just $14.20.

This was a $50 stock back in 2013. GameStop shares have also traded within a range of $12.20 to $22.37 in the past 52 weeks.

As far as when the deal might actually occur, the company is going to keep quiet while it is in the discussions. GameStop’s statement said:

GameStop does not intend to make any additional comments regarding these discussions unless and until it is appropriate to do so.

It is not that unusual for companies to be mum on details of discussions. After all, they could end up accidentally negotiating against their own upside. What is different here is GameStop actually confirming discussions are underway. Shareholders may want to consider that much higher share prices of yesteryear are probably not all that relevant in today’s world.