The Smart Investor Will Avoid GameStop and Bed Bath & Beyond

Stocks to sell
  • Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) just got three seats on its board.
  • GameStop (GME) savior Ryan Cohen ought to pick one or the other.
  • The smart move for investors is not to own either.

Most investors following GameStop (NYSE:GME) know that Ryan Cohen, the so-called savior of the video game retailer, owns 11.9% of GME stock through RC Ventures, his holding company. Cohen also owns 9.8% of Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY).

Cohen recently gained three seats on Bed Bath & Beyond’s board. As a result, he is now fighting a war on two fronts. History tells us that most times, when an aggressor tries to fight two opponents at the same time rather than one, the outcome is generally unfavorable. 

BBBY reported a fourth-quarter loss of 92 cents versus the analyst estimate of a four-cent profit. BBBY stock is down more than 9% on the news.

If Cohen is smart, he’ll stop the war on two fronts and focus on GameStop. If you’re an investor, I would caution against buying either stock. If Cohen’s not careful, he’ll hold the bag for both GameStop and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Here’s why.

GME GameStop $151.63

Ryan Cohen Is No Warren Buffett

The idea for my commentary today is not original. Yahoo Finance editor-at-large Brian Sozzi recently reported some of the comments of Loop Capital Markets analyst Anthony Chukumba regarding Ryan Cohen’s large investments in both companies.

Here’s what Chukumba had to say about GameStop: 

 “He bought a big stake in GameStop. He became the chairman. He brought in all these executives and board members. The stock went up a ton. But have the fundamentals of the business gotten any better? Any better at all? The answer is no. And by the way, the stock peaked at $483. It’s now down to about $150,” Sozzi reported on April 12. 

In February, I pointed out that savior Cohen sold Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) long before it proved it could consistently make money. I also said that his claim Chewy would have been successful no matter what products it sold fails to recognize that the pet care industry is one of the most stable in North America. So he hardly picked a tough one.

GME stock has rebounded nicely in recent weeks — it’s up 64% over the past month — as the meme stock investors piled back into Cohen’s original turnaround target. 

In March, GameStop reported decent Q4 2021 sales — up 6.2% over Q4 2020 to $2.25 billion — with an adjusted loss of $1.86 a share, well off the analyst estimate of an 85-cent profit.

The company had nothing but good things to say about its strategy to transform GameStop’s business. If nothing else, Cohen is a good promoter.

GME Stock + BBBY = Potential Bloodbath

As I said in the intro, Bed Bath & Beyond reported a 92-cent loss in the fourth quarter, 96 cents worse than the consensus estimate. BBBY stock jumped 34% on March 7 after Cohen revealed his stake in the retailer. Its share price is now down 18% from its March 7 close. 

So, Cohen now has two money-losing businesses to turn around. It’s tough enough to achieve success once. But he wants to do it twice. At this point, the smart investor would realize the probabilities of Cohen being successful on both are slim.

Chukumba is equally unimpressed by Cohen’s BBBY play:

“It’s the same thing with Bed Bath & Beyond. He bought a stake in Bed Bath & Beyond, but he said you can easily take this thing private. No you can’t. He also said the market cap of buybuy BABY is more than the entire market cap of the company. Wrong once again,” Sozzi reported. “Let’s rid ourselves of the notion he is the next Warren Buffett, the emperor has no clothes.”

He’s 100% on the mark. 

The man has done little to alter either business, yet he’s ready to fight a war on two fronts. Unfortunately, this scenario has only one end — a bad one from where I sit.

Chewy’s Not Looking So Hot

Before ignoring my warning about betting on Cohen, remember that Chewy’s most recent quarterly report was a stinker. The company lost 15 cents a share in Q4 2021, seven cents worse than analyst expectations, while revenues were $2.39 billion, $30-million shy of the consensus. 

For all of 2021, Chewy finished with a net loss of $73.8 million. It did make money on a non-GAAP adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) basis, but $6.6 million less than a year ago and with an adjusted EBITDA margin of less than 1%.

The smart thing Ryan Cohen’s done up to this point in his business career was to sell Chewy when the getting was good. That makes me think of Mark Cuban and the sale of Broadcast.com for $5.7 billion at the height of the dot-com bubble in 1999. Only Cuban took those winnings and built an empire, including the Dallas Mavericks.

Cohen’s proven he’s no Warren Buffett or Mark Cuban. For this reason, I wouldn’t buy either.

On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he’s appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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