ECONOMY

Timely GameStop Sale Lifts Senvest Hedge Fund to 60% Return

A hedge fund that was one of GameStop Corp.’s top shareholders gained about 60% in the first two months of the year after selling its stake during the retailer’s Reddit-fueled surge.

Senvest Management LLC’s Senvest Master Fund LP returned 15.3% in February, according to a preliminary estimate published by Montreal-based Senvest Capital Inc., avoiding a big loss on GameStop, which fell 69% during the month.

New York-based Senvest Management held just over 5 million shares of GameStop, making it the fourth largest holder, according to Bloomberg data and a February 13G filing. The firm told the Wall Street Journal in early February that it had exited the position in late January. The fund gained 38.5% that month.

Senvest Capital, which controls fund manager Senvest Management, was used by some investors as another way to play the GameStop phenomenon. Senvest Capital’s Toronto-listed stock has risen over 76% this year to about C$307, trading near a record high.

Richard Mashaal and his father Victor Mashaal collectively own about 55% of Senvest Capital, according to the latest filings.

The company’s New York-based money management unit was founded in 1997 and manages over $2 billion in assets, with a strategy of “contrarian, value-based” investing, according to its website. Steve Bruce, a spokesman for Senvest, declined to comment. Senvest has stakes in Tower Semiconductor Ltd. and DSP Group Inc., according to Bloomberg data. Meanwhile, the fund took a 1.4% position in Flagstar Bancorp Inc. during the fourth quarter, according to last month’s 13F filing.

GameStop closed as high as $347.51 in late January as frenetic buying created a short squeeze, then plunged to below $41 on Feb. 18. A new wave of Reddit users has pushed the shares back up to their highest level since early February, closing at $132.35 on Thursday.

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