One Hedge Fund’s Pain is Another Fund’s Treasure & The AMC — Digital Currency Group Connection
Currently sitting in the financial news spotlight, the reddit-born group known as Wall Street Bets (WSB) has captivated the minds of retail investors around the world. Seemingly causing significant damage to some of the most powerful funds on Wall Street, they have quickly amassed hoards of followers on multiple social media platforms. They scream about “stonks” on social medial and they are claiming to be the force that will finally tear down the current paradigm which serves only to protect large fund investor groups. They seek to expose the underlying market biases through a barrage assault of short term combined capital on a single target.
While on the surface they may have caused some of the most influential people in the world to take notice of their short-term strength in numbers, behind the scenes some of the largest names in crypto finance have been able to take spectacular exits on positions during a time when the stock market, by all traditional measures, should be faltering. Considering that movie theaters are struggling to stay open under various regulations that change sometimes from week to week, it should not be a surprise that AMC stock was not performing well up until the WSB group took aim with their combined capital catapults and launched the stock into the stratosphere, at least temporarily.
But who benefited the most from this price movement? Some WSB members may have enjoyed quick profits according to their message boards, but one of the largest benefactors was in fact a large private investment firm known as Silver Lake. On Tuesday, January 26, at 4pm EST AMC stock reached at spectacular closing price of $5.00 per share. This represented a staggering 100% increase in just the previous 10 days. On the following morning, AMC stock opened at $20.30 a share.
That same day, January 27th, Silver Lake executed a convertible note deal that they had taken up with AMC back in 2018. They quickly converted 33,317,145 shares at a price of $13.51, representing a total value of $450,114,628.95. They sold around 30 million shares between $14.10 and $16.98 with the rest of the shares selling for as high as $23.03 which netted a total of $534,752,119.46 for Silver Lake. This wasn’t even the entire net proceeds according to Reuters.
“Buyout firm Silver Lake disclosed on Friday that it sold its stake in AMC Entertainment Holdings for $713 million this week, capitalizing on a 10-fold rise in the price of the shares as traders organizing on social media platforms such as Reddit snapped them up.
The trade puts Silver Lake and its co-investors in the black following a $600 million convertible bond investment that the private equity firm made in AMC in 2018..”
What is one of the most interesting aspects of this generally respectable turn of fortune for Silver Lake, is not the unlikely rescue of their AMC investment by misguided masses, but that one of the co-founders of Silver Lake also happens to be a board member for the Digital Currency Group. The DCG, who controls much of the most critical infrastructure in the cryptocurrency markets, also happens to be advised by the co-founder of the firm that just reaped a significant windfall thanks the WSB’s attention on AMC stock this week.
Which then begs the question, when a group of retail traders and investors gets together to attack “stonks” and cryptocurrencies in force — Who Really Benefits?
While many of us can probably agree that the playing field on Wall Street has not been fair for quite some time, it is unlikely that attacking singular targets en mass will do more than provide short term gains for the individuals leading the charge as well as a prime change to exit positions that have been accumulated prior to the pump. Invariably, this type of action usually leaves the majority of retail investors who come late to the game bearing the brunt of the losses.
These “Pump and dumps” can be thought of as fast-motion pyramid schemes that play out in hours or minutes instead of months or years. While it remains to be seen what sort of regulatory action may ensue the continuing chaos, it is clear that some of the largest traditional investment firms are clearly not asleep at the wheel and they are happy to oblige any irrational market behavior that might favorably come their way in the days ahead.
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