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GameStop shares plummet after fifth CEO exit in 5 years

GameStop shares plummet after fifth CEO exit in 5 years
A man walks in front of a GameStop store in the Jackson Heights neighbourhood of New York City, New York, US Jan 27, 2021.
PHOTO: Reuters file

GameStop fell about 19 per cent on Thursday (June 8)?and was set for its worst session in two years after the surprise exit of a CEO handpicked to lead its online expansion fanned concerns about the video game retailer's ailing business.

The ousting of former Amazon.com executive Matt Furlong came alongside top shareholder Ryan Cohen's appointment as the executive chairman of a company that he turned into a favourite of meme-stock traders with promises of a digital pivot.

Yet GameStop was set to erase half of its gains for 2023 and about?US$1.3 billion (S$1.74 billion)?in market value, with one analyst saying management change has been the only constant in recent years.

"It's hard to have an opinion with no earnings call, little-to-no investor communication, and lack of consistent strategic vision," Andrew Uerkwitz of Jefferies said.

"One consistency remains, changes at the top. Over the last five?years, GameStop has had five?CEOs and three?CFOs."

Uerkwitz is among the last few analysts who cover GameStop after a massive pandemic-era rally, that was driven by traders banding together on Reddit, prompted several brokerages to say the stock price had decoupled from its fundamentals.

The company's shares have dropped nearly 80 per cent from the US$120.75 peak they hit during the meme-stock saga of 2021. The stock has a 12-month trailing price-to-sales ratio of 1.38, compared with Best Buy's 0.37, according to Refinitiv.

GameStop has also struggled to deliver on Cohen's pledge of making it the Amazon of videogame stores, having seen several high-level exits over recent months, including those who were drawn from the Chewy co-founder's personal network.

The videogame retailer, which still relies mostly on brick-and-mortar stores, reported its fourth straight fall in quarterly revenue on Wednesday and a bigger-than-expected loss.

"GameStop is doomed," said Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities. "The lack of a clear direction and the callous termination of Furlong all but ensures Cohen will have difficulty attracting a qualified replacement."

ALSO READ:?GameStop ousts CEO and Cohen takes reins as sales fall again

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