US video games retailer GameStop (GME:NYSE) plans to raise around $1 billion through the sale of up to 3.5 million shares in order to speed up its e-commerce transformation in an industry that is rapidly shifting to digital.

Also designed to beef up its balance sheet, the share offering is a way for the Texas-headquartered headline-grabber to capitalise on the historic short-squeeze engineered by amateur traders on the ‘Wallstreetbets’ Reddit forum.

This has driven the shares up nigh on 900% to $186.95 in a volatile year to date. At the start of 2021, the brick and mortar retailer traded at less than $20 a share.

FROM $100 MILLION TO $1 BILLION

GameStop has yet to capitalise on the stonking share price surge since the Reddit frenzy began by selling fresh equity, largely as security laws prevented it from doing so without disclosing its latest financial information.

Last month, GameStop finally said it was considering expanding on a $100 million share sale plan originally announced for December, but which it was unable to execute due to regulatory restrictions.

However, GameStop has subsequently put investors in the trading picture by posting fourth quarter and full year results and flagging an 11% year-on-year rise in total global sales for the nine weeks ended 3 April 2021.

It is now able to pull the trigger on a fundraise that will speed a technology and e-commerce transformation led by activist investor and board member Ryan Cohen, the co-founder of online pet food-to-treats portal Chewy.

WHY INVESTORS ‘SHOULD BE PLEASED’

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com, says shareholders who have bid up shares in GameStop in recent weeks ‘should be pleased’ with the funding news.

‘First, although it entrails a meaty dilution, the cash call is entirely expected and two, without a big capital raise now, taking advantage of the price of the stock, Cohen and co wouldn’t have much cash to meet their lofty ambitions.

‘Recent announcements by the company have made it plain Chewy.com founder Cohen has a singular aim of making GameStop the “Amazon of gaming”’.

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Issue Date: 06 Apr 2021