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GameStop’s stupefying stock rise doesn’t hide its reality

first_img By Digital AIM Web Support – February 3, 2021 Previous articleFOX News Media Names Ben Domenech to Contributor RoleNext articleEx-Peace Corps volunteers plead with US for help on Tigray Digital AIM Web Support Pinterest Twitter TAGS  NEW YORK (AP) — Behind GameStop’s stock surge is the grim reality of its prospects: The video game retailer is floundering even as the industry around it is booming. GameStop has been swept up in a battle between big-moneyed hedge funds betting against it and small investors trying to prop it up. That has caused GameStop’s share price to soar despite the shaky financials underneath. Flailing companies like AMC Entertainment and American Airlines have likewise enjoyed a stock surge, but GameStop has been the primary battleground between the Davids and the Goliaths. Shares rocketed 1,600% in the last three weeks, closing at $325 per share on Friday and giving GameStop a market cap of nearly $17 billion. Shares have since cratered. On Tuesday, they fell 60% to close at $90. Many investors fully understand the contradiction between GameStop’s stock price and its business fundamentals. But for those who imagine it to be the next Tesla or Amazon, the truth is: It’s likely not. The company’s quarterly report issued in September showed another steep quarterly sales decline as it struggles to adapt to the rise of mobile gaming and digital downloads that have rendered its more than 5,000 stores obsolete, even more so during the pandemic. And the attention-grabbing media coverage didn’t bring shoppers back to the stores in recent weeks. Customer traffic declines accelerated in January, according to new research from analysis firm Placer.ai. For the week ended Jan. 18, the number dropped 20.3% compared to a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet have a “sell” rating on the stock and a price target of $13.44 per share. Some analysts believe a reasonable valuation could settle in around $20 to $30 per share at best. While GameStop’s new board member Ryan Cohen, the founder of online pet store Chewy, has raised hopes of a turnaround, it’s still going to be an uphill battle. “It’s fascinating to watch. But ultimately you can’t escape gravity,” said Scott Rostan, CEO of Training The Street, which teaches financial modeling and valuation to college students and MBAs. “Ultimately, the reality is going to set in, and ultimately, the fundamentals are going to have to come to play. “ The Grapevine, Texas-based company was founded in 1984 as Babbage’s and took over the GameStop name in 2000. It was the destination to grab the latest video games just as they were released. But it also became the place to trade in old games and consoles to get cash or credit to buy new ones. Sales declined over the past decade with the rapid shift toward downloading games. Annual sales have gone from its peak of $9.5 billion in fiscal 2012 to an expected $5.15 billion for the year ended Jan. 30, according to FactSet. At one GameStop location in Brooklyn, there were bright liquidation notices papered across the front windows. Inside, the shelves were for sale along with a scant mishmash of power cords, anime key chains and picked-over T-shirts. Most of the games went quickly at a deep discount. Piles of games for the Xbox 360 — the Microsoft gaming console that went out of production about six years ago — could be had for a quarter instead of the $50 they once commanded. Carlos Cruz, 33, of New York City, used to visit GameStop once a week to buy new games and trade in old ones. But that stopped a few years ago when he started to download games. Now he goes to GameStop every two months, specifically to get certain exclusives. “It’s easier for me to download the games in the house and not go anywhere,” said Cruz, noting that 90% of his games are digital. Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Nintendo eShop, and online game platform Steam all let gamers download games. And Amazon is testing the cloud gaming arena with a new streaming service called Luna. Discounters like Walmart, Best Buy and Target have also ramped up their offerings. Meanwhile, the overall video game market has been exploding, a trend accelerated by the pandemic as Americans stay home. The global gaming industry was expected to hit $174.9 billion last year and reach $217.9 billion by 2023, according to analytics firm Newzoo. That’s up from Newzoo’s forecast issued during the start of the pandemic last year of $200.8 billion. There have been some recent bright spots for GameStop. The company posted total sales down 3.1% for the nine-week period ended Jan. 2 but it was able to offset store closures with strong game console demand. Online sales, which accounted for about 30% of overall company sales, soared by more than threefold. And GameStop has reduced its overall debt on its balance sheet by almost $600 million since early 2019. In mid-January, GameStop added Cohen and two of his former colleagues from Chewy to its board after Cohen had pressed the company to focus on its online operations. On Wednesday, it named Matt Francis to its new role of chief technology officer, capitalizing on his experience in e-commerce and consumer technology. “GameStop needs to evolve into a technology company that delights gamers and delivers exceptional digital experiences — not remain a video game retailer that overprioritizes its brick-and-mortar footprint and stumbles around the online ecosystem,” said Cohen in a letter to the board of directors last November. By the end of the latest fiscal year, GameStop will have closed over 1,000 stores since mid-2019. It’s also been adding PC gaming, computers, monitors, game tables and gaming TVs to its mix. But analysts believe any turnaround will take time, and some think Cohen’s experience leading an online pet store isn’t applicable to the gaming business. “I think he is a good merchant and a good retailer,” said Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter. “But can you digitally download pet food or pet toys? I don’t think so.” Cohen, whose investment firm acquired a 12.9% stake in GameStop in recent months, declined to comment. GameStop couldn’t be reached for comment. Analysts say GameStop could take advantage of the lofty stock price and do their own stock offering like American Airlines. The chain could use that money to reinvest in the business. But given so much uncertainty, the question is: at what price? “No one knows what the true valuation is,” said Alon Y. Kapen, a corporate transaction lawyer at Farrell Fritz. “And you don’t know when that window is going to shut.” ——————— Associated Press writer Charles Sheehan in New York contributed to this report. ——————— Follow Anne D’Innocenzio: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzio Facebook Local NewsBusinessStateUS Newscenter_img Facebook WhatsApp Twitter Pinterest WhatsApp GameStop’s stupefying stock rise doesn’t hide its realitylast_img read more

Mickey Hart Announces 25th Anniversary Release Of “Planet Drum” & Plans For New Solo Album

first_imgHas it been 25 years already? Back in 1991, Grateful Dead percussionist/Rhythm Devil Mickey Hart released his seminal album Planet Drum to wild success and critical acclaim. The album, which featured world-renowned percussionists Zakir Hussain, Vikku Vinayakram, Babatunde Olatinji, Sikiru Adepoju, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, and Giovanni Hidalgo, won the first ever World Music Grammy after spending twenty-six weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts. The subsequent tour for the album took the drummers around the world playing to packed audiences on a nightly basis.This was a groundbreaking project, bringing together some of the greatest percussionists of our time. Now, Planet Drum is being re-released as a special 25th anniversary edition in December 2016, including three new tracks that Hart arranged with his frequent collaborator Hussain. The three tracks include “Sea of Showers,” which features Flora Purim and Babatunde Olatunji singing over a rhythm base that includes sounds ranging from a bullroarer to chimes, “Throat Games,” which is an all-globe scat-a-thon and “The Spot,” which is a sonic homage to the water gods.Hart had this to say about the Planet Drum project:“This experience was about people having the will to do it and wanting to come together…because many times, people from different cultures are reticent of getting together with powerful people from other cultures; it’s hard to share rhythm for some musicians who are tradition-bound.  In this case, these folks, they weren’t culturally bound by their rhythms; they were in the right place at the right time for a new gumbo, a new way of coming together, egoless, in the spirit, to have fun and record a classic 20th century gamelan, which has always been the carrot for me.  I always wanted to ring that bell.”In other exciting news, the label behind Planet Drum, Universal Music Group, has announced that Hart is entering the studio to put together an album of new material, with a the album set to be released at some point in 2017.Keep an eye out for more information on the 25th anniversary edition of Planet Drum and Mickey Hart’s forthcoming new album. You can head to Hart’s website for more details.last_img read more

Harry Potter Alum Harry Melling & More Tapped for London’s Hand to God

first_imgHallelujah! Harry Potter alum Harry Melling, Janie Dee, Neil Pearson and more have boarded the cast for the previously reported West End transfer of Hand to God. Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel and penned by Robert Askins, the production will play a limited engagement at the Vaudeville Theatre February 5, 2016 through June 11. Opening night is scheduled for February 15.Along with Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films) as Jason, two-time Olivier winner Dee (Comic Potential, Carousel) as Margery and Pearson (Waterloo Road) as Pastor Greg, the cast will also include Jemima Rooper (Hex) as Jessica and Kevin Mains (Million Dollar Quartet) as Timothy.In Hand to God, the good children of Cypress, Texas, are taught to obey the Bible in order to evade Satan’s hand. But when students at the Christian Puppet Ministry put those teachings into practice, one devout young man’s puppet takes on a shocking personality that no one could have expected.The Broadway production of Hand to God will shutter at the Booth Theatre on January 3, 2016. View Commentslast_img read more

Fact-checking Donald Trump’s comments about Colin Kaepernick’s NFL career

first_imgThere has been a crescendo of voices calling for Kaepernick’s return to the NFL amid a global movement against racial injustice in recent weeks. Which is why Trump on Wednesday was asked whether he thinks Kaepernick should get another shot in the NFL.MORE: The six best fits for Colin Kaepernick in 2020″If he deserves it, he should,” the president responded. “If he has the playing ability. He started off great, and then he didn’t end up very great as a player. He was terrific in his rookie year. I think he was very good in his second year, and then something happened. So his playing wasn’t up to snuff.””Absolutely I would,” support @Kaepernick7 getting a 2nd shot in the @NFL — @POTUS in my interview today on racism, policing, statues & yes–sports. #ColinKaepernick pic.twitter.com/0B83cNbesW— Scott Thuman (@ScottThuman) June 17, 2020Let’s address these comments one at a time:”He was terrific in his rookie year.” This is not true. Kaepernick, who was selected by the 49ers out of Nevada in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, played in just three games as a rookie while backing up Alex Smith. He completed three of five pass attempts for 35 yards on the season.”He was very good in his second year.” This is absolutely true, and perhaps an understatement. Though Kaepernick spent the first half of the season playing sparingly as a backup, he took over for Smith in Week 10 when the latter suffered a concussion, and he never looked back. He started the last seven games of the season and led San Francisco to its second straight playoff berth after an eight-year drought.In the playoffs, Kaepernick was something special. He terrorized the visiting Packers in the divisional round to the tune of 263 passing yards, 2 passing TDs, 181 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs in a 45-31 win. He followed that up with a 233-yard passing performance (79.2 completion percentage) in a road win over the Falcons in the NFC title game. The 49ers fell just a few yards shy of beating the Ravens in the Super Bowl, a game in which Kaepernick threw for 302 yards and rushed for another 62 with a pair of touchdowns.”And then something happened. His playing wasn’t up to snuff.” This is notably vague, and it’s where the memories get hazy (ignorantly or otherwise) for most. Kaepernick had a great 2013 season, which began with the first 400-yard passing game for a 49ers QB in almost a decade. He was equally strong in the playoffs as San Francisco toppled Green Bay and Carolina in the first two rounds. The 49ers lost to the Seahawks and fell short of a second straight Super Bowl appearance thanks to the now-famous Richard Sherman play against Michael Crabtree.That offseason, Kaepernick was rewarded with a six-year contract extension worth up to $126 million. He had another strong year statistically, but the 49ers slipped to 8-8 in 2014, and coach Jim Harbaugh after the season left for the job at Michigan. That’s when things started to unravel around Kaepernick.MORE: A complete Colin Kaepernick timelineThe 49ers hired Jim Tomsula to replace Harbaugh, and the experiment was a disaster. Kaepernick’s play crumbled along with that of the entire team. He was benched midway through the season and eventually placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Tomsula was fired after just one season and replaced (surprisingly) by Chip Kelly, who we thought might give Kaepernick’s career a new hope. Instead, with Kaepernick coming off of three offseason surgeries (shoulder, knee, thumb), Blaine Gabbert was named the 49ers’ starter to begin the 2016 season. Kaepernick eventually took back the job in Week 6 and for the most part played well, but the 49ers won just two games, leading to another coaching change. Amid such organizational dysfunction, Kaepernick restructured his contract so he could opt out after the 2016 season, which he did.In Kaepernick’s last season in the NFL, he played in 12 games, threw 16 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions with a 59.2 completion percentage and managed a passer rating of 90.7. (He added 468 yards and a pair of scores on the ground.) For reference, Tom Brady’s passer rating last season was 88.0.So yes, his play was still plenty “up to snuff.” Donald Trump’s recollection of Colin Kaepernick’s football career should not matter considering the 74-year-old clearly and understandably does not closely follow sports.But in the context of an NFL career that was halted prematurely in an intersection of sports and politics, words from the president of the United States carry significant weight. This is especially the case when so many use perceptions of Kaepernick’s six seasons in the league as ammunition when arguing whether he should or should not be on an NFL roster in 2020, almost four years after he began sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem at games in protest of racial injustice and police brutality.last_img read more