Courtesy of Ryan Cohen; Chewy; GameStop; Olly Curtis/Future Publishing via Getty Images; Reddit; Samantha Lee/Insider
- Ryan Cohen has reportedly built up a stake in Alibaba.
- The meme-stock billionaire is privately calling for the Chinese tech giant to buy more of its own shares, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- Cohen made billions trading meme stocks during the pandemic and is currently chairman of GameStop.
Meme-stock billionaire Ryan Cohen has built up a stake in Alibaba – and is reportedly pushing for the Chinese tech giant to plow more cash into buying back its own shares.
Cohen accumulated a stake in Alibaba worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the second half of 2022, according to a Wall Street Journal report that cited people familiar with the matter.
For months, Cohen has been privately pushing for the e-commerce firm to commit to spending an extra $20 billion for buying back its own shares, the publication said.
Buybacks tend to boost a company’s stock price because they signal to the market that the business feels its shares are undervalued.
Alibaba said on November 16 that it had spent $18 billion repurchasing its own shares in the third quarter of 2022 and was aiming to buy back $40 billion worth of shares in total, with the plan lasting until May 2025.
Alibaba shares are up 49% since the November announcement, and were trading at $117.01 as of Friday’s closing bell – but that’s still way below the record of just under $310 set in October 2020 as investors took advantage of low interest rates to pile into tech stocks.
Cohen made most of his wealth as the founder of the online pet store Chewy, which he sold for $3.35 billion in 2017.
He built up a stake in the video game retailer GameStop between August and December 2020, with his appointment as chair of the company’s board in January 2021 triggering a short-squeeze that saw shares rally 1,500% within two weeks.
Both Bed Bath & Beyond and GameStop are dubbed ‘meme stocks’ – meaning they’re considered to be overvalued by traditional analysts but have been popular with retail investors on forums like Reddit’s WallStreetBets.
Cohen’s success trading the two stocks has led to some calling him the “meme-stock king“.