GameStop: The little guys vs. Wall Street as told in ‘The Antisocial Network’ book


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One of the hottest trading narratives of the past year revolved around the Gamestop trading frenzy that almost brought Wall Street to its knees.

The dramatic story of the tape, so to speak, is written in a new book, “Antisocial Network” Written by New York Times best-selling author Ben Mezrich.

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GME Gamestop Corp. 197.56 -5.68 -2.79%

Granthshala Business spoke with Mezrich about what’s going on behind the scenes, what it means for this small but mighty band of investors, and why Hollywood has already come knocking.

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The hype around GameStop began back in January when a group of relatively unknown retail investors from a Reddit forum called WallStreetBets planned to bet against Wall Street firms that shorthanded the struggling Grapevine, Texas-based video game retailer.

Trading volatility almost lifted the market in January.

Gamestop Ripple drops over 600 points amid crisis

Mezrich, like many others, was watching the play from the sidelines and was eager to learn more.

“I’ve always been interested in any stock or, you know, little stock that skyrockets to the moon. And when it all exploded, I started getting tweets, I started getting emails, people saying, ‘ It’s the kind of thing you write about. You should see it.’ And so I came in and I started calling the people involved. I tried to reach as many sources as I could,” Mezrich told Granthshala Business. “I’m usually writing about things that happened a year ago, and it was a different experience to be involved in the story. But it was just fascinating how Gamestop exploded and it was the brief squeeze of the century.”


One of the most surprising takeaways for Mezrich as he was writing the book in real time was how much investor sentiment toward GameStop was driven by anger in the Wall Street establishment.

“It wasn’t just a bunch of college kids trying to make a little money at Gamestop. It was really a David-vs-Goliath fight between regular guys and it felt like Wall Street spoiled them over and over again. And just finding a way to fight back,” Mezrich explained. “The idea was that if we hold, if we really have diamond hands, the stock will continue to go up. And it really happened.”

“Diamond hands”, in trading slang, refers to investors who will not sell or give up a stock or other asset.

Since January, GameStop shares have risen more than 979% on unprecedented volatility and nearly 3,000% over the past 12 months. Shares have traded from a low of $5.87 per share to a high of $483.

With the “meme stock” revolution spreading to other companies such as AMC Entertainment Holdings, there was talk about investing on social media.

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AMC AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. 50.10 -1.62 -3.13%

“The idea that social media has this power, that a large group of people have this power and want to do something similar is what we’re going to deal with over and over again,” Mezrich said. “The share price is no longer tied to the fundamentals of the company. The share price is based on the sentiment behind it.”

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While Mezrich believes that the new power of amateur investors from social media has sent the stock market into new territory, he warns that the new area will open the door to increased scrutiny from regulators. However, he added that regulators and legislators are “behind the eight ball” when it comes to mastering social media and online investment platforms like Robinhood.

“Efforts will be made to regulate what happened. You really don’t want millions of people to lose their rent money gambling on the stocks they read about on Reddit. But at the same time, you want People should have access to Wall Street,” Mezrich said. “So they had to take a crash course in both the technology and what’s actually happening out there.”

Going forward, he expects Wall Street companies to take a more cautious approach when shorting the stock.

“I think they’re going to hire groups of people to scour these websites. You’d have social media or sentiment monitoring hedge funds to see if everyone was diving into something.” It is,” Mezrich insisted. “We need to be careful and we need to look into that.”

He also emphasized that new investors need to be made aware of the “disparate risk” between Wall Street and Main Street.

“A hedge fund can lose a billion dollars and be back at work the next day… account,” Mezrich said. “Regular people sitting on that couch, maybe just getting into the stock market for the first time, betting on a house, you know, a YOLO trade… they’re taking a lot more risk than a Wall Street banker.”

“Yolo,” in slang, stands for “you only live once.”

Ultimately, Mezrich hopes that anyone who picks up a copy of “The Antisocial Network” can have a better understanding of the stock market, why the Gamestop short squeeze happened, and how they can make money from investing.

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mgmb MGM Holdings Inc. 131 -3.00 -2.24%

In addition to the book, “The Antisocial Network” has been chosen for a film adaptation by Michael DeLuca, president of MGM Motion Picture Group. Mezrich said the project’s screenwriters had developed an “unprecedented screenplay” and a search for a director and actors is underway.

“It’s not a simple story. It has many levels,” Mezrich said. “But when you really dig into what happened with Gamestop, I think you’ll find that it’s really about a revolution that’s going to change things going forward.”

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