(Bloomberg) — They say the only people who got rich in the gold rush of 1849 were the merchants who sold shovels to would-be prospectors. In the 2021 gold rush for meme stocks, it could ultimately be the plane pilots dragging banners that make the real money.
Sky news that shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Pumps — similar to the banner planes warning parched Jersey Shore tourists where to find a $2 Corona Light — have become a top tool for the shopping army marching in formation for this cult stock. Pilots don’t come cheap, so the self-proclaimed “monkeys” of the AMC message boards are looking for handouts to help the effort: $4,250 for a flight over Canada; $550 to hoist “AMC TO THE MOON HODL” over North Carolina; $3,000 to fly a similar message over Wall Street; £5,000 so that the British Parliament can have the floor. And so forth.
The efforts are among dozens of campaigns to crowdsource funds for several AMC-related projects that have surfaced on the GoFundMe website. While many don’t actually bring in the donations, the campaigns do shed light on how strange the cultural phenomenon surrounding the cinema chain has become. Pilots aside, the monkeys seem very eager to fill the pockets of lawyers willing to join their dizzying battle against the hedge fund shortsellers they’ve portrayed as the villains of this cinematic market drama.
“They stole from all over the country in 2008 and we paid them for it,” reads a campaign by a self-proclaimed “dumb money monkey” who raised $100 from an ambitious $20 million goal. “They smiled all the way to the bank to cash their bonus checks. They illegally short and manipulate the market every day. It’s right for the world for all of us to see, study and prove.”
Needless to say, potential donors would be wise to do some due diligence before contributing to these efforts, no matter how cute they are. Like these:
“Hello fellow monkeys!” reads a pitch from a trader who has only been able to buy a partial share so far. “I am here asking for help of any amount to buy AMC stunk! I work at my sad minimum wage job aka McDonald’s and barely own one share in AMC. Money is tight, I survive a $1 menu and eat ramen. Hopefully I’ll have 1 share soon!”
Another effort is to raise money for the creator to dress up in a monkey costume in Los Angeles and hand out bananas with an AMC pump slogan handwritten on it. Talk about a road show!
Common themes among other campaigns include helping monkeys or their families who are struggling, either due to illness or depleted savings accounts with traders who bought the stock at its peak. One called “AMC Apes Take Care of Each Other” attempted to raise $1,000 for a mother-in-law’s funeral expenses. It has raised nearly triple that amount.
Many are simply begging potential donors to contribute to traders looking to buy and hold more AMC stock so they can exacerbate a short squeeze among hedge funds betting against the stock. There are few details on why exactly that would be a better strategy than having the donors just buy the stock themselves.
But the ultimate goal is to send the stock ‘to the moon’. The exact location of “the moon” when it comes to AMC’s stock price is open to debate, but a common price target among monkeys is $100,000. That would make the company worth more than $51 trillion, an amount currently larger than all the companies in the S&P 500 and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index combined.
Some campaigns show how the fervor for AMC’s stock is motivated, at least in part, by nostalgia among cinephiles who are now concerned about the possible extinction of big screens in the streaming era.
“I’m one of millions fighting to save our beloved AMC theater chain from hedge funds and billionaires trying to bankrupt them,” goes a pitch. “Our goal is to have musicians play songs that were played on the Titanic, such as ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ outside of Citadel HQ in Chicago,” a reference to Ken Griffin’s hedge fund and market-making operations that used the apes as their main antagonist. due to Citadel Securities’ role in handling much of the order flow from retail brokers. “I have two studies with two local orchestras in downtown Chicago.”
Who knows, maybe Griffin — who has reportedly been a major donor to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra himself — can enjoy the free concert.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
Subscribe now to stay ahead of the game with the most trusted business news source.
©2020 Bloomberg LP