GameStop Taps Chewy Co-Founder To Lead Shift To E-Commerce – Shares Up 30%

Plus, $1.9 trillion stimulus deal expected to be signed by President Biden early in the week after bill passed the Senate over the weekend, PayPal is buying crypto security firm Curv, and GE may be nearing an agreement to combine its jet leasing business with AerCap Holdings.

Stocks were mixed at the open with the Dow adding nearly 16 points, or less than 0.1%. The S&P 500 also rose less than 0.1%, while the Nasdaq slid 0.8%.

GameStop shares are up 30% today after the company announced that it has tapped Chewy co-founder Ryan Cohen to lead its shift to e-commerce. Cohen, who is already a GameStop board member, will chair a new committee tasked with the transformation and will by joined on the committee by board members Alan Attal, Chewy’s former top operations executive, and Kurt Wolf, chief investment officer of Hestia Capital Management. The committee will be tasked with hiring executives to lead its customer care and e-commerce fulfillments, as well as finding a new chief financial officer with tech or e-commerce experience.

The Senate passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill. The package now heads back to the House, where the chamber will vote on changes to the plan on Tuesday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the bill will “absolutely” pass and praised the Senate bill as a “tremendous step forward to defeat the virus.” Once approved by the House on Tuesday, the bill goes to Biden who is expected to sign it into law before March 14, when unemployment benefits for millions of Americans are set to expire. “Today is a day of great progress and promise for the American people, as the Democratic Senate has President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to save lives and livelihoods,” Pelosi said. “The House now hopes to have a bipartisan vote on this life-saving legislation and urges Republicans to join us in recognition of the devastating reality of this vicious virus and economic crisis and of the need for decisive action.”

With stimulus likely to pass early this week, the U.S. administered a record number of COVID-19 vaccines over the weekend as cases continued to drop across the nation. But even with cases on the decline, public health experts are warning against loosening restrictions as Alabama, Arizona, California, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas all relaxing restrictions to varying degrees over the last week. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser on the pandemic said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that U.S. cases remain “very high” and a run to lift coronavirus-related restrictions risks triggering another wave of new cases. “We do want to come back carefully and slowly,” Fauci said. “But don’t turn the switch on and off because it really would be risky to have yet again another surge.”

PayPal announced today that it will acquire cryptocurrency security firm Curv as part of its push into digital tokens in a deal worth $200 million. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2021 and PayPal said the acquisition will help “accelerate and expand” its support of cryptocurrencies and digital assets. “The acquisition of Curv is part of our effort to invest in the talent and technology to realize our vision for a more inclusive financial system,” Jose Fernandez da Ponte, PayPal’s vice president and general manager, blockchain, crypto and digital currencies, said in a statement. “During our conversations with Curv’s team, we’ve been impressed by their technical talent, entrepreneurial spirit and the thinking behind the technology they’ve built.”

And General Electric shares are up 3% this morning on reports that it is nearing an agreement to combine its jet-leasing business with Ireland’s AerCap Holdings in a possible deal that would join the world’s two biggest aircraft financiers. The deal is reported to be worth more than $30 billion, and while details of how the deal would be structure were not immediately clear, an announcement could come as early as today. The combination of AerCap and GE’s Capital Aviation Services, or GECAS, unit would mark a significant consolidation in the leasing sector amid a time of “extreme uncertainty” for aviation, according to John Strickland of airline advisory firm JLS Consulting.

Stocks We’re Watching

Aemetis Inc (NASDAQ: AMTX): Aemetis shares are up nearly 24% over the last week, and up 10% today as of this writing, following its unveiling a new five-year plan that positions the company to generate $1.07 billion of revenues and $325 million of adjusted EBITDA in year 2025. “We are pleased with the improving external environment for the Aemetis negative carbon intensity projects that already have been in project development, engineering and permitting for several years and are now generating revenue and EBITDA growth,” said Eric McAfee, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis. “As a leader in the fast-growing negative carbon intensity transportation fuels industry, most of our senior management team and board members have been executing on the Aemetis mission for up to 15 years.  We believe that we have the team, technology and platform in place to execute on this five-year plan.  The $1 billion of revenues in year 2025 represents less than one percent of the addressable market for our negative carbon intensity RNG and renewable fuels, especially considering increasing demand for negative carbon intensity electricity from Renewable Natural Gas to power the expected rapid growth of electric vehicles with estimated -416 carbon intensity dairy RNG from our projects.”