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Why some investors are excited about Ryan Cohen as GameStop’s next chairman

Struggling video game retailer GameStop announced Thursday that it intends to name Chewy.com co-founder Ryan Cohen as chairman of its board of directors following its next stockholder meeting on June 9. The move seems likely to further encourage some investors who continue to be bullish on GameStop stock and see Cohen’s plans to “transform” the retailer as a key part of its recent sky-high rise in valuation.

Cohen, who sold pet-supplies retailer Chewy to PetSmart for $3.5 billion in 2017, has traditionally been cautious with his investing strategy, putting money into big, safe stocks like Apple and Wells Fargo. But Cohen bought a roughly 10 percent stake in GameStop last August, when short sellers thought the already-depressed stock would continue to lose value. He increased that stake to 13 percent in December, earning a number of seats on the company’s board in the process.

During his time with the retailer, Cohen hasn’t been shy about pushing for GameStop to “promptly pivot from a brick-and-mortar mindset to a technology-driven vision,” as he put it in a November SEC filing. “If GameStop takes practical steps to cut its excessive real estate costs and hire the right talent, it will have the resources to begin building a powerful e-commerce platform that provides competitive pricing, broad gaming selection, fast shipping, and a truly high-touch experience that excites and delights customers.”

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