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Activist investor Ryan Cohen completes planned sale of Bed Bath & Beyond stake, stock falls 44%

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Activist investor Ryan Cohen has exited his position in retailer Bed Bath & Beyond, according to a securities filing released Thursday afternoon.

The filing shows that Cohen’s RC Ventures dumped its stock on Tuesday and Wednesday at a range of prices between $18.68 per share and $29.22 per share. The firm also sold its call options. Cohen said in a filing earlier this week that he intended to sell his holdings of the meme stock.

Shares of the stock fell 44.6% in extended trading, adding to a loss of nearly 20% during Thursday’s regular trading session.

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Cohen, who co-founded Chewy and is the chairman of GameStop, purchased more than 7 million shares and call options of Bed Bath & Beyond earlier this year. The company added board members of Cohen’s choosing and pushed out its CEO after RC Ventures revealed its stake.

Cohen originally purchased his shares of Bed Bath & Beyond at an average of roughly $15.34 per share. According to CNBC calculations, Cohen made about $59 million, before brokerage fees, on his trade of Bed Bath & Beyond common stock. He may have made additional profits on the options.

In a statement Wednesday, Bed Bath & Beyond said it had reached a “constructive agreement” with RC Ventures in March and was exploring potential changes to its financial structure.

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Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond have rocketed higher this month, fueled in part by retail traders in an apparent revival of the meme trading craze. Shares were up more than 200% in August as of Thursday’s close.

Bed Bath & Beyond has seen abnormally high trading volume this month, and the stock has become the dominant topic of conversation on Reddit’s WallStreetBets page. The stock has high short interest, or bets that it will decline made by hedge funds, which was one of the main qualities of names that soared during the meme stock craze of 2021.

The retail investor interest has come despite the company’s fundamental struggles. Bed Bath & Beyond in June reported that its first-quarter net sales were down 25% year over year, resulting in a net loss of $358 million. The company also reported negative operating cash flow of about $400 million.

Of top concern is that its liquidity could be drying up, and the company must raise new capital in order to stay afloat.

Bed Bath & Beyond reported roughly $108 million in cash and equivalents in its fiscal first quarter, down from $1.1 billion a year prior.

The company had been drawing on its existing $1 billion asset-based revolving credit facility from JPMorgan Chase, according to its latest quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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But as the assets that were used as collateral for that ABL facility lose value, Bed Bath & Beyond will face greater pressure from its lenders to cut costs and find money elsewhere.

These issues come at a critical time for the retailer when it will want to have strong inventory in stock for the back-to-college and winter holiday seasons. But fears about its finances could cause vendors to ask for more cash up front, which could exacerbate its financial troubles.

— CNBC’s Lauren Thomas contributed to this report.

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