Canadian investment firm Senvest lands $650 mln payday from GameStop surge


TORONTO/MONTREAL, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Little-known Canadian investment firm Senvest Management LLC landed a multimillion-dollar payday from betting on video game retailer GameStop Corp, which has been at the centre of a frenzy driven by retail investors this week.

The investment manager, owned by Canadian holding company Senvest Capital, has seen its 3.6 million shares in GameStop rise 1,205.4% from last week, after they hit $483 a share briefly on Thursday.

The stock ended Thursday at $193, taking Senvest Management’s paper profit to about $650 million, which for a firm that manages just $1 billion would land stellar returns when it cashes out of the position.

Senvest first disclosed a position in filings with the U.S. regulator on Oct. 13. While the investment manager did not reveal the acquisition price, GameStop stock traded in the range of $9.10 and $15.87 in October. Reuters’ estimate of Senvest’s gains is based on the Oct. 13 opening price of $11.73.

An army of retail investors in recent days has powered a massive rally in stocks, including GameStop and BlackBerry . The stocks gave up some of their gains on Thursday after online brokerages Robinhood Markets Inc and Interactive Brokers restricted trading in the red-hot stocks.

Other investors like BlackRock have also benefited from the GameStop stock rally.

A spokesperson for Senvest Management, which is based in New York and founded by Richard Marshal in 1997, declined to comment. Senvest is GameStop’s seventh biggest shareholder, according to Refinitiv data.

The firm has more than $1 billion in assets under management and runs a contrarian, value-based investment strategy, according to its website.

Montreal-headquartered Senvest Capital operates as a holding company with interests in investment management and direct investing in public securities and private investments, according to its website.

Shares of publicly traded Senvest Capital ended down 0.6% at C$280 on Thursday.