Opinion: Meme stocks soar on bad news for Melvin Capital and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Shares in GameStop
closed up 8.5% Thursday, while stock in AMC Entertainment
soared 12.4% as retail investors digested global unrest and some trouble for one —or maybe two— Wall Street opponents.

News that Ken Griffin’s Citadel LLC hedge fund is further paring back its $2 billion investment in Gabriel Plotkin’s short-selling fund Melvin Capital was explosive Schadenfodder for social media’s army of “Apes.”

Griffin infused Plotkin with the cash at the height of January’s 2021 short squeeze on meme stocks, a move that Apes saw as one Wall Street fat cat bailing out another.

The details of that deal further incensed retail folks when they considered that Griffin is also the founder Citadel Securities, which is the largest executor of retail trades on apps like Robinhood
[which you might remember played a key role in shutting down the hectic short squeeze].

Griffin has denied any deeper ties with Robinhood or that he was bailing out Plotkin, but that didn’t stop Apes from beating their chests on social media Thursday as they reacted to news that their version of Emperor Palpatine was clawing back $500 million from their version of Darth Vader.

And while Plotkin’s losses have been large and public, some even speculated that this was more about Citadel’s problems than Melvin’s.

“Citadel appears to be afraid of incoming margin call defaults,” mused popular retail investing influencer @BossBlunts1 on Twitter.

While there is scant evidence of a liquidity issue at the $230 billion hedge fund, Griffin’s Citadel empire does seem to be having a less-than-comfortable start to 2022 with a series of regulatory investigations into short-selling and block trading coming to its door and one of its hedge fund executives even being named in one of the probes.

Whether that has affected the sometimes-pugnacious billionaire who has trolled his retail critics a few times in the last few…


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