In just a short time, AMC CEO Adam Aron has earned a reputation as a masterful pied piper of the "ape" army of retail traders who have rallied around his company, driving the firm's shares up by nearly 400% in under 2 weeks.
Earlier this week, Aron announced a unique "rewards program" promising AMC shareholders special offers (for starters: free large popcorn). Bloomberg's Matt Levine suggested that this might pay dividends for AMC in terms of shareholder engagement since popcorn is cheap, and the company could just about cover its food and beverage costs for the last three years (just shy of $640M, according to the company's annual report) by selling another 12M shares at last night's close of $51.34.
After AMC shares went on another wild ride Thursday (and management asked for shareholders' permission to raise the cap on the shares it can issue), Aron sat for an interview with Trey's Trades, a popular YouTube channel that has gained a following thanks to the retail trading boom. The interview afforded Aron an almost uninterrupted opportunity to expound upon the company's strategy, including its plans for strengthening its capital structure via more share offerings.
While Aron promised he would leave some ammo in the hopper in case of an unforeseen emergency, he also vigorously defended the company's decision to repeatedly tap the markets for more capital, and why he wants to ask for even more, while sketching out what some might describe as a grandiose vision for the future of AMC.
"We can also use the $800M we just raised...and whatever we might be able to raise in 2022, or 2023...maybe there's another movie theater company we can buy, maybe there's a great acquisition for us outside of pure-play movie theaters that would allow us to vertically integrate...if you arm us with the tool to go find value-creating opportunities for AMC shareholders, we can do that. If you don't arm us with this tool, you will be tying our hands behind our back."
Could AMC buy another movie chain? Or perhaps even a movie studio? Who knows? But with 80% of the company's float owned by retail traders, Aron has a lot of wiggle room to do pretty much whatever he wants with the money...so long as he can make an argument that it will benefit AMC's bottom line.
Readers can watch the full interview below:
(Anybody interested in watching Pt. 1, which was released back in April, can find it here).
But Aron really got the audience's attention when he appeared to accidentally knock over his camera, inadvertently revealing that he wasn't wearing pants.
The accident occurred just as Aron was making the conclusion to his argument for AMC's long-term future.
In other words, Aron used one of the oldest tricks in the book: flashing a bit of thigh.
As Aron admitted during the interview, he has been spending a lot of time on twitter lately. So he probably understands that these types of "viral moments" play well with the Internet-addicted 'apes' that are buying his stock.
Some interpreted the move as a sign: perhaps some kind of message to AMC shorts that more pain lies ahead? Is AMC going to make some kind of big announcement in the near future?
Are they going to "diversify" by launching their own streaming platform? Probably not. But Aron strongly hinted at the possibility of AMC buying a rival chain, so long as the market doesn't tie the company's hands by dumping the stock.
Major takeaways from part 2 of @CEOAdam and @TradesTrey:— Chuck (@ChuckHodl) June 4, 2021
- Short sellers annoy Adam
- Adam has lead 5 successful companies over 40 years
- Adam reads thousands of tweets instead of watching TV
- Adam might not have been wearing any pants
- Trey and Adam are LEGENDS #AMC
At any rate, the interview is just the latest sign of how the army of retail traders is changing markets and media, as CNBC was left scrambling for a follow-up.