GameStop cofounder Gary Kusin said it was an 'honor' retail investors targeted the company: 'I just grabbed some popcorn'

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Allana Akhtar
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gamestop store
A GameStop store in North Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2013. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
  • Gary Kusin, a GameStop cofounder, told CNBC he'd been monitoring the company's stock frenzy.

  • Kusin's son Ben said he had long followed the Reddit forum credited with fueling GameStop's rally.

  • The elder Kusin told CNBC it was a "a little bit of an honor" that investors targeted GameStop.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A cofounder of GameStop and his family appear to be closely following the firm's exploding share price.

Ben Kusin, whose father, Gary, cofounded GameStop, had been an active member on the Reddit forum cheering on and fueling the company's spectacular rally. The younger Kusin told CNBC's Ari Levy his father and his brother had been actively watching the drama unfold as GameStop shares skyrocketed as much as 2,000% in January.

"It was worlds colliding when this went down," he said.

Encouraged by members on the popular Reddit forum r/wallstreetbets, scores of people poured investments into GameStop in part to burn larger investors betting against the stock, such the Citron Research short-seller Andrew Left. The rally, which has been described as a populist movement, resulted in billions in losses for GameStop short-sellers.

Gary Kusin, who cofounded what became GameStop in the 1980s, told CNBC it was "a little bit of an honor" that investors targeted the company for its short-squeeze attempt.

Read more: Hedge fund phenom Dan Sundheim's D1 Capital has been stung by the AMC short bet caught up in Reddit's trading frenzy

"I'm much more a spectator than I am participant," he added. "I just grabbed some popcorn."

The elder Kusin joins other high-profile spectators of the GameStop rally. The billionaires Elon Musk and Chamath Palihapitiya have cheered on the retail investors credited with driving the short squeeze. Progressive lawmakers have called for stronger regulation of the stock market to prevent market manipulation.

The rally represented a comeback for GameStop, the largest gaming retailer in the US, after years of slow sales. The company, under threat as games are increasingly downloaded rather than purchased in stores, closed 462 stores in 2020.

Still, a pandemic-induced surge in demand for video games, a major investment by the Chewy cofounder Ryan Cohen, and the release of the PlayStation 5 all sparked a revival for the video game store before the dramatic frenzy.

Some at GameStop have had a hard time dealing with the sudden surge. GameStop employees told Insider's Reed Alexander they'd been fielding investing questions and bizarre interactions from customers. Employees said they hadn't received guidance from GameStop corporate leadership on how to handle the influx of questions.

Read the original article on Business Insider