In early January, Knight Capital leader and junior Jonathan Merlin, AKA “Wiz,” took note of large hedge funds and wealthy Wall Street investors shorting Gamestop (GME) stock. Being the investing guru that he is, Merlin took this as an opportunity to stick it to the arrogant, greedy Wall Street investors. Merlin wasted no time and immediately teamed up with Keith Gill on Reddit, Youtube’s “Roaring Kitty,” and Barstool’s Dave Portnoy to promote the short squeeze. “Screw the hedge funds. Screw the rich. Screw Wall Street. Gamestop to the moon!” said Merlin.
On Thursday, Jan. 7, Merlin went into the weekly Knight Capital meeting with only one item on his agenda: YOLO Gamestop. In the most heated Knight Capital meeting to ever take place, Merlin went head-to-head with senior Jordy Elster in an attempt to secure enough votes from club members to dump the entire $50,000 Knight Capital budget into Gamestop stock.
“That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. This is an investment club, not a day trading club!” shouted Elster. At that moment, it seemed as if Elster had the majority of the room behind him. Merlin knew that if he was going to get the votes, he would have to make a big move, and fast. Feeling emboldened, the club leader rushed up to the board, grabbed the green Expo marker, and drew an arrow with a steep positive slope, representing Gamestop’s future. “STONKS ONLY GO UP!” Merlin exclaimed.
The room erupted in cheers and applause. Merlin had done it; it seemed as though he had inspired the club to ride with Gamestop. “You’re an idiot,” said Elster, “you’re going to bankrupt this club.” The room went silent for what “seemed like an eternity,” according to junior Benjamin “Bene” Chern. Finally, Merlin walked up to Elster. He got so close that their noses were touching. He looked him in the eyes and said, “It’s not about the money… it’s about the message.” It was time to vote.
English teacher and club sponsor Robert Kaufman walked over to the whiteboard to tally the votes. “All those opposed to YOLOing Gamestop, raise your hand,” Mr. Kaufman instructed. In what signaled a close vote, eight hands shot up. “All those in favor of YOLOing Gamestop, please raise your hand,” said Mr. Kaufman. Eight more hands went up. Once again, the room fell silent until, from the back of the room, Chern’s hand began to rise. “Gamestop to the freakin’ moon!” he shouted. The tie was broken, and the decision was made. Knight Capital would YOLO Gamestop.
Towards the end of the month, the stock began to rise. As Gamestop approached $150 per share, members of the club urged Merlin to sell the position and take the huge gains. But Merlin, known for his diamond hands, simply refused. “This is not over,” Merlin insisted.
The club waited nervously, hoping that Merlin would sell before the inevitable crash of the stock. At $200 a share, and then at $300 and $400, Merlin held firm. Not until the stock hit $483 a share did Merlin decide to sell. They had done it, and Knight Capital walked away with millions of dollars in gains, all thanks to the Wiz.