Michael Burry, who won big betting against the housing market in 2007 as actor Christian Bale famously depicted in The Big Short, is now betting on GameStop.
Burry’s firm Scion Asset Management disclosed this week that it wants the Grapevine-based video game retailer’s board of directors to complete a $300 million share buyback plan. His letter to the board said Scion owns 3 million shares of GameStop — or about 3%.
Burry bet big on the subprime mortgage industry and was handsomely rewarded. But what does he see in GameStop?
Burry told Barron’s earlier this week that GameStop’s “balance sheet is actually in very good shape.” He also pointed to hype around cloud-based video game streaming technology being developed by major tech and game companies and essentially described it as overblown.
“It looks worse than it really is,” he also told Barron’s. Burry said the next generation of video game consoles by Microsoft and Sony will still include disk drives.
Burry wants GameStop’s board to buy back the remaining $237.6 million in shares that it authorized. Since Burry spoke out, GameStop’s stock price took an unusual upward turn rising as much as 20% Thursday. It dropped 5% on Friday as part of a broader slump for trading markets.
The company’s stock price has been in steep decline since 2015 as it struggled to keep up with the increasingly digital world of video game sales.
GameStop’s business model has long centered around selling new and used video games and accessories. Digital game downloads have increased in popularity in recent years and are sold directly on game platforms, cutting out the middleman.
It’s worked to develop alternate sources of revenue in various ways over the years like when it purchased and ran hundreds of smartphone storefronts. GameStop sold off its 1,284 AT&T wireless stores for $700 million earlier this year.
Business Insider published an article last month that depicted the retailer’s “slow demise.”
This week, the company made sizable cuts to its staff both in its corporate headquarters and in the editorial operations at Game Informer magazine. The layoff of more than 120 corporate employees was part of previously announced plans to improve finances.
GameStop had only an interim CEO for a year until hiring experienced retailer George Sherman in March.