GameStop’s Shakeup Will Do Little to Alleviate Its Woes

Stocks to sell

Video game retailer GameStop (NYSE:GME) is the most talked-about meme stock in recent memory. Thanks to a Reddit-induced short squeeze, it is one of the best-performing stocks in the past 12 months, with hardly any fundamentals to back that up. Despite a 40% drop in its price this month, it still trades more than 89 times its cash flows. What’s next for GME stock is anybody’s guess, but one thing is clear: the odds are heavily stacked against Gamestop in transforming its business.

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A lot is riding on the induction of Chewy co-founder Ryan Cohen for the company’s big e-commerce pivot. Under Cohen, the newly revamped board of directors is transforming the company from a retailer to a technology company. Global E-commerce sales have shot up 191% in fiscal 2020, which shows its initiatives’ potential. However, nothing is a given with GameStop, considering its spotty track record. There are many holes in the company’s strategic plans, which should continue to impact its long-term outlook.

Cohen’s Transformative Plans

In an executive shakeup, GameStop named Ryan Cohen as its chairman. Cohen is known as an activist investor and the co-founder of pet supplies retailer Chewy.  He had purchased a 10% stake in GameStop back in August last year and later increased it to 13%. In an SEC feeling in November, he talked about how the company needed to transform itself from a retailer to a tech company.

Naturally, Cohen has brought new leadership in executing his plans. However, to everyone’s surprise, the new appointments include marketers, customer care experts, web designers, and other IT professionals with little hands-on knowledge in the gaming industry. One would expect Cohen to introduce individuals with practical experience of the industry and well-versed with its developments.

More importantly, he seems to be missing the plot about how GameStop’s competition is incidentally its vendors. With the rising popularity of digital purchases, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are becoming less reliant on intermediary businesses.  Therefore in many ways, the latest console upgrade cycle is likely to be significantly less profitable.

The last console upgrade cycle was back in 2013, where total global sales for its holiday period were at $3.15 billion. On the flip side, the holiday results for 2020 were at $1.7 billion, which decreased 3.1% compared to 2019. Hence, OEMs will continue to offer their content through their digital platforms, limiting GameStop and other related companies’ market share.

The Bottom Line on GME Stock

So where will the company go from here? I have no idea. The GameStop saga has arguably been one of the weirdest stock market stories in recent memory. It’s clear from a fundamental standpoint, though, that the stock is grossly overvalued.  For example, its enterprise value to EBITDA ratio is more than 3,600% higher than the sector average. Moreover, its forward price to book ratio is also more than 375% higher than the sector average.

Many price targets for the stock are more than 70% lower than its current stock price. Moreover, the dispersal between its high and low estimates is more than $150 at this time. The reality is that if you factor in the risks associated with its business, its value is not even close to where it’s trading at this time.

GME stock has had a rollercoaster of a ride this year. However, it appears that it’s not exactly the mother of all short stocks at this point. Short interest as a % of the float was roughly 18% when it exceeded 100% in January. Moreover, its new chairman in Ryan Cohen seems to be missing the trick in understanding the company’s underlying problems. Therefore, it would be best for long and short sellers to steer clear of GME Stock.

On the date of publication, Muslim Farooque did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.

Muslim Farooque is a keen investor and an optimist at heart. A life-long gamer and tech enthusiast, he has a particular affinity for analyzing technology stocks. Muslim holds a bachelor’s of science degree in applied accounting from Oxford Brookes University.