AMC CEO Adam Aron has been engaging more with the hordes of investors online who have memed his company’s stock to incredible highs, but he probably didn’t imagine revealing this much: During a live interview with a YouTuber on Thursday, Aron appeared to be pantsless on camera.
Over the past few months, AMC—and Aron specifically—has leaned more and more into its popularity as a meme stock among online communities like r/WallStreetBets. Aron has offered cryptic references to the subreddit on an earnings call, rolled out a special rewards program for retail shareholders, and most recently gave an interview on the Trey’s Trades Youtube channel.
Trey Collins, the host of the Trey's Trades channel, started back in December 2020 and has quickly emerged as a prominent AMC retail investor. He's appeared on Fox Business where he explained why he and other retail investors were pouring eye-watering amounts of cash into various stocks. On Friday morning, he gave an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box", and said of AMC's climbing share price that "most of the retail investors understand this is not the true fundamental value of AMC" and that it was worth somewhere between $20 and $25 a share.
Collins posts videos frequently and has been talking about AMC for months, and even interviewed Aron in April. . There are interviews, promos, guides to certain trading strategies, news analysis, and more. Some notable examples include, "We are The Apes", "Potential Interview with the King of Tendies", and a song he released titled "AMC - Not A Dead Cat Remix.”
Thursday’s YouTube interview was promoted as “Return of the Silverback” (AMC investors refer to themselves as “apes,” making Aron the chief gorilla). During the chat, Aron talks about AMC's finances from the $239 million in cash it received from Mudrick Capital to the $500 million it announced on Thursday was raised from selling 11.5 million shares, as well as plans for future moves that would create "genuine value" for shareholders. At one point during the interview, the camera falls over and reveals Aron’s bare thighs for a moment before he quickly readjusts it.
It’s unclear if Aron is wearing underwear or simply very, very short shorts. But one thing is for sure: he is not wearing pants.
Spokespeople for AMC did not return Motherboard’s request for comment to clarify Aron’s strategy of engaging retail investors with a YouTube interview, and whether he was wearing underwear or shorts.
It’s a remarkable moment when one considers everything leading up to this. Aron became CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line in 1993, a decade before Skype was founded. He navigated the corporate world for years before landing at AMC in 2015, presiding over a slow and steady decline in stock price until this year, when retail investors piled in. Now, Aron is a god among Redditors and doing interviews with YouTubers, finally culminating in Thursday’s incident.
In the promotion for the most recent interview, Collins makes it pretty clear his inspiration for the channel and the community he's built around himself comes from WallStreetBets, GameStop investor u/DeepFuckingValue, and the host of apes that regularly pour their life savings into stocks because of a whim, research, or memes.
Similar to DeepFuckingValue’s GameStop thesis, Collins thinks AMC stock has been undervalued in part because of financial woes and ravenous short sellers, and the recent price rally could be to its advantage.
In this past quarter, AMC has raised well over $1 billion from stock sales alone and is asking investors to let it sell more stock. While a plan to sell 500 million shares was shot down, Aron is reportedly moving ahead to propose a plan where a meager 25 million new shares are issued and sold. This would dilute value for shareholders, but it could capitalize on the frenzy to raise funds that could then be used to finance acquisitions, pay down debt, and cover rent. Then, AMC could find itself in much better financial straits than it was earlier in the pandemic when bankruptcy seemed likely. Or so the thinking goes.
Thursday’s interview is a bit absurd, but notable in that you have the head of a major corporation offering seemingly unprecedented access to a large audience of investors tied together by a desperate desire to make money, shitpost, hurt hedge funds, and learn more about what to do next with their money. It also turned into a chance for Aron to more directly make the case for the aforementioned proposal to issue and sell millions more shares. In the interview, Aron again tried to convince the audience that his next move―issuing millions more shares to raise even more capital―was in everyone's interests even if it would dilute the value of existing shares.
“If you arm us with the tool — meaning stock as the tool — to go find value-creating opportunities for AMC shareholders, we can do that,” Aron said. “If we are not armed with this tool, then you’re tying our hands behind our back and you’ll make it just that much harder for us to land some of these attractive opportunities that could benefit us all.”
But for many Redditors, the focus of the interview was elsewhere. A post on r/WallStreetBets titled “AMC CEO shows us he isnt wearing pants…” and featuring a clip from the interview currently has nearly 43,000 points.