New York Mets owner Steve Cohen deactivated his Twitter account on Friday night after saying his family received personal threats amid the ongoing David-and-Goliath standoff between an army of independent retail investors and Wall Street over the struggling video-game retailer GameStop.
“I’ve really enjoyed the back and forth with Mets fans on Twitter which was unfortunately overtaken this week by misinformation unrelated to the Mets that led to our family getting personal threats,” Cohen said in a statement Saturday. “So I’m going to take a break for now. We have other ways to listen to your suggestions and remain committed to doing that.
“I love our team, this community, and our fans, who are the best in baseball. Bottom line is that this week’s events in no way affect our resources and drive to put a championship team on the field.”
Day traders, mobilized on a Reddit forum, have poured about all the money they can find into the stocks of a struggling video game retailer called GameStop and a few other beaten-down companies. Their buying has swollen those companies’ share prices beyond anyone’s imagination – and, not coincidentally, inflicted huge losses on the hedge funds of the super-rich, who had placed bets that the stocks would drop.
Their strategy, of course, is freighted with risk. The prices of the stocks they’ve bought are now multiples above any level justified by revenue, earnings or future prospects. The danger is that at any time, the stocks could collapse.
Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management became involved when it invested in Melvin Capital Management, a hedge fund that had heavily placed bets against GameStop and drew the ire of the day traders. Melvin is run by Cohen’s former protégé Gabe Plotkin.
GameStop stock rocketed from below $20 earlier this month to close around $325 on Friday. Over the past three weeks, they’ve delivered a stupefying 1,600% gain.
Cohen, who bought the Mets for a record $2.42bn in October, had amassed a Twitter following of nearly 200,000 for his surprisingly irreverent interactions with fans, where he took suggestions about how to run the team and fielded outlandish trade suggestions.
On Tuesday, the 64-year-old billionaire had responded to the controversy by tweeting: “Rough crowd on Twitter tonight. Hey stock jockeys, keep bringing it.”
Then on Thursday, Cohen got into a back-and-forth with Dave Portnoy after the Barstool Sports founder criticized the Mets owner in the wake of restrictions that were placed on trading apps, such as Robinhood, that were hurting the day traders behind the ballooning of GameStop’s share price by prohibiting them from buying the stock while permitting sell orders.
“I had zero to do with what happened today…chile [sic] out,” Cohen replied in one tweet to Portnoy.
After Portnoy’s supporters began targeting Cohen with criticism, the Mets owner deactivated his account.