Keith Gill, a 34-year-old Massachusetts man known as "Roaring Kitty" on YouTube, is the person behind the sudden jump in GameStop stock that had Wall Street transfixed all week. On Wednesday, the flagging video game retailer saw its stock jump 135% to $347.51 a share before dropping to $194 on Thursday. It experienced another sharp jump before the end of the week. At the beginning of 2021, GameStop shares cost just $18. "I didn't expect this," Gill told The Wall Street Journal of the sudden attention.
Gill once worked at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. and is known as "DeepF—ingValue" on the Reddit subreddit r/WallStreetBets. On Wednesday, he shared a screenshot of his brokerage account showing a $20 million gain from GameStop shares and options. He showed a $15 million loss on Thursday, but after Thursday's close, his E*Trade brokerage account showed he had about $33 million in GameStop stock, options, and millions in cash. He inspired thousands of others to show their own brokerage accounts, with lines going up as the cost of GameStop shares rose.
While many saw GameStop's sudden jump in the market as an effort by Reddit users to take down the establishment, Gill said he was not trying to do that at first. He told the Journal he believes investors can find "value in unloved stocks." He started investing in GameStop in June 2019 and thought the company could see a boost when new video game consoles were released. "People were doing a quick take, saying GameStop was the next Blockbuster," Gill said. "It appeared many folks just weren't digging in deeper. It was a gross misclassification of the opportunity."
Most on Wall Street disagreed with his high hopes for GameStop, so hedge funds and others bet the shares would continue tumbling. Hedge funds work by borrowing shares and selling them in the hopes of buying them back at a lower price and return them. They keep the price difference. When there is a sharp rally, like the one GameStop saw, some professionals are forced to purchase shares at a loss. This could cause a "short squeeze," where there is a sudden gain in stocks. Gill said he wasn't relying on a short squeeze completely, but he knew others were.
Although Gill's life quickly changed, he still plans to continue his "Roaring Kitty" YouTube channel. The father of one also might also buy a house. "I always wanted to build an indoor track facility or a field house in Brockton," he told the Journal of his hometown. "And now, it looks like I actually could do that."
Gill is a graduate of Stonehill College, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting, reports the Daily Mail. He ran track in high school and college and has a two-year-old daughter with his wife, Caroline. They live in Wilmington, Massachusetts.