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GameStop shareholders: Who owns the most GME stock?

By Nicole Willing

Edited by Vanessa Kintu

16:03, 24 October 2022

A Gamestop video game store in the Herald Square shopping district in New York
GameStop is the world’s biggest video game retailer Photo: rblfmr / Shutterstock

US-based video game and electronics retailer GameStop (GME) has been one of the most popular meme stocks in recent years, gaining popularity with retail investors through social media platforms.

The GME share price soared by more than 1,700% at the start of 2021 as retail investors buying up the stock prompted a short squeeze, forcing hedge funds to cover their short positions. The share price dropped in February 2021 before spiking again the following month. Despite continued volatility the stock has overall trended lower since.

GameStop (GME) live chart

The value of the stock has confounded investors since the initial rally, as the company has been unable to turn around declining revenues.

“Wall Street has consistently revised downward their estimates of GameStop’s profitability, making its stock price stability in 2022 even more perplexing,” wealth management firm Bireme Capital wrote in its second-quarter shareholder letter

“Their recently launched NFT marketplace will do nothing to fix their core business and comes about a year too late to be relevant in the NFT space. Instead, we see this as another example of a meme stock company hoping it can ape its way into a new business model, utilising the popularity of the stock to drive new lines of business.”

In July, the company carried out a four-for-one stock split of its Class A common stock, which it distributed to GameStop shareholders in the form of a three-for-one stock dividend. The stock split increased the company’s Class A share count from 300 million to 1 billion, which it stated would “provide flexibility for future corporate needs”. 

Stock splits do not change a company’s valuation but they reduce the share price, making them popular among retail investors. The company previously carried out a stock split in 2007.

Who owns the most shares of GameStop? How much of the stock do retail investors own given its popularity? How does that compare to insider ownership and institutional investment? 

If you’re considering investing in the company, it’s important to understand who owns the most shares as the biggest GameStop shareholders can move the share price if they buy or sell large volumes of the stock, affecting the value of your position.

In this article we look at the breakdown of GameStop’s biggest shareholders.

What is GameStop?

GameStop 5-year price chart

GameStop is the world’s biggest video game retailer, selling games, hardware, accessories and other merchandise through its more than 4,500 stores across the US, Canada, Australia and Europe, as well as online.

Based in Texas, GameStop was founded in 1984 as Babbage’s. The company was renamed in 1999, when book retailer Barnes & Noble bought it from a group led by Leonard Riggio, Barnes & Noble’s CEO.

GameStop raised $325m from its initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in February 2002, selling 18.06 million shares at $18 a share.

The share price declined from 2013 until 2021 as the gaming retail business entered sector decline and sales moved online. Hedge funds began targeting the stock for short sales, reaching more than $11bn in January 2021 ahead of the short squeeze.

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Who are the biggest GameStop shareholders?

Who are the shareholders of GameStop? Individual shareholders of GameStop account for around 57% of the company’s ownership, reflecting the role of retail investors in buying up the meme stock. That compares with institutional ownership of around 26% and insider ownership of around 16%, according to data from Simply Wall Street.

Ryan Cohen

Activist investor Ryan Cohen invested in GameStop in December 2020 through his RC Ventures investment firm, acquiring 9m shares for a 12.9% stake in the company, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). That made him the company’s largest individual investor, with the biggest stake among insider GME shareholders. 

Cohen was previously founder and CEO of pet products retailer Chewy. He also briefly invested in meme stock Bed Bath and Beyond earlier in 2022.

In January 2021, GameStop announced an agreement with RC Ventures for Cohen and two other new directors to join the board to “bring deep expertise in e-commerce, online marketing, finance and strategic planning to GameStop.” The company subsequently reorganised its management team.

An SEC filing in March 2022 showed that Cohen increased his stake to 9.1 million shares, which would have multiplied to 36.4 million shares following July’s stock split.

The largest institutional GameStop shareholders include US investment firms Vanguard Group, BlackRock, State Street Global Advisors, Geode Capital Management and Mason Capital Management.

Vanguard Group

Vanguard Group owns the largest stake in the company among institutional investors, with more than 5.9m shares at the end of June 2022 according to an SEC filing, or 23.9 million after the stock split.

Vanguard is the world’s second largest asset manager behind Blackrock, according to ADV Ratings’ list of the world’s top asset management firms. Vanguard was at the forefront of creating mutual and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track benchmark stock market indices to make stock markets more accessible for retail investors. Over 40 of Vanguard’s funds own GameStop stock, with its Total Stock Market Index Fund holding the most shares.

Blackrock

Blackrock owned 5.16 million GameStop shares, as of 30 June, down slightly from the end of 2021 when a filing showed it held 5.19m shares for a 6.8% stake. The asset manager profited from the GME rally in 2021, selling more than 4m shares from the 9.2m holdings it reported at the end of 2020, when it held a 13.2% stake in the company. Following the stock split, BlackRock would hold 20.6m GameStop shares.

State Street

State Street’s second-quarter holdings report showed that it held 1.7m GME shares at the end of June 2022. That was down from 3.8m at the end of 2019 and just under 2.2m at the end of 2020, a 3.51% stake, as the investment firm profited from the stock’s rally. State Street’s SPDR S&P Retail ETF had substantial exposure to GME in January 2021, with the stock making up 19.9% of the fund, resulting in a strong price rally for the but prompting investors to sell off their holdings to take profits and reduce their exposure.

It can be useful to understand a company’s share ownership before you make an investment, as major shareholders can have a substantial influence over the future performance of a company stock, which can in turn affect the value of your investment. Some of GameStop’s major shareholders have sold portions of their holdings to capitalise on its rapid meme stock rallies.

However, a company’s share ownership structure is only a small part of the picture and should not be the main reason for your decision to buy or sell a stock. Whether GameStop is a suitable investment for you will depend on your risk tolerance, investing goals and trading strategy. You should always do your own research before making any investment or trading decision. And never invest or trade money that you cannot afford to lose.

FAQs

How many GameStop shares are there?

In July 2022, GameStop held a four-for-one stock split to increase its share count from around 300 million to more than 1 billion.

How many shareholders does GameStop have?

GameStop has 555 institutional owners and shareholders that have filed stock ownership reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to Fintel. Nasdaq reports that the company has 313 institutional shareholders.

Who owns GameStop?

Individual investors account for more than half of GME’s share ownership. Activist investor and board member Ryan Cohen is the company’s largest individual shareholder.

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