Bed Bath & Beyond Stock Price Soars Pre-Market on Ryan Cohen Shares

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.

BBBY -3.40%

spike in pre-market trading after Ryan Cohen, the billionaire co-founder of pet retailer Chewy Inc..

CHWY 2.91%

disclosed a 9.8% stake through its investment company in the home appliance retailer.

Mr. Cohen, who is also the president of GameStop Corp.

GME -5.70%

, sent a letter to Bed Bath & Beyond’s board on Sunday outlining steps to take to turn the company’s fortunes around. Bed Bath & Beyond in January reported a massive drop in sales in the previous quarter. Its shares closed Friday at $16.18, down 69% from a 2021 closing high of $52.89.

In early New York trading on Monday, the retailer’s shares jumped 47% in pre-money markets to more than $23 a share.

On social media on Monday, individual investors welcomed the news of Cohen’s stake. Mr. Cohen has built a loyal following on Reddit and Twitter,

partly due to his cryptic tweets frequently going viral online.

Cohen’s large stake is reminiscent of his move to amass a position in GameStop and lay the groundwork to take over the company’s board. At the end of 2020, Mr. Cohen disclosed a nearly 10% stake in GameStop through his investment firm RC Ventures LLC and sent a letter to the video game retailer’s board urging it to improve. Improve corporate e-commerce and explore other technology-driven opportunities.

In January 2021, Mr. Cohen was added to GameStop’s board – and later became chairman. His addition to the board caused a frenzy in GameStop shares, sending them to an intraday high of $483 last year after starting the year trading below $20 a share. promissory note.

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In his letter to Bed Bath & Beyond, Mr. Cohen said he was not qualified to sit on Bed Bath & Beyond’s board personally, but said that did not stop RC Ventures from seeking to keep Bed Bath & Beyond’s board and management are held accountable. . His letter said Bed Bath & Beyond should narrow its focus and maintain the right inventory mix to meet demand. He wrote that the company should explore other ideas including splitting up the Buybuy Baby retail chain or selling the company as a whole.

Bed Bath & Beyond is one of a number of stocks that surged last year during the meme stock mania. Its share price, however, tumbled shortly thereafter but has seen a periodic rise in retail investors.

Write to Caitlin McCabe at caitlin.mccabe@wsj.com

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