ARK Sears Skillz Stock Shorts, Calls Bear Reports Misleading

Posted on: April 24, 2021, 03:41h. 

Last updated on: June 23, 2021, 01:14h.

Embattled Skillz (NYSE:SKLZ) got some relief this week. The stock soared 20.25 percent, as ARK Investment Management gobbled up shares of the mobile games developer while defending it against bearish commentary.

Skillz stock
ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood. Her firm bought big in Skillz stock this week. (Image: Barron’s)

On Tuesday, shares of San Francisco-based Skillz were drubbed after a then-lightly followed Twitter user known as Eagle Eye Research issued a negative report on the stock. The user claimed the company may be engaging in revenue recognition shenanigans and accounting gimmickry.

The following day, Cathie Wood’s ARK threw Skillz bulls a lifeline. The New York-based money manager added more than four million shares of the online gaming entity for the famed ARK Innovation ETF (NYSEARCA:ARKK) — the firm’s largest exchange traded fund (ETF). That same day, Wood’s company bought 1.056 million Skillz shares for the ARK Next Generation ETF (NYSEARCA:ARKW).

All that ARK buying helped Skillz stock to a gain of better than 33 percent on April 21. The fund issuer also stepped up to defend the shares against reports from short sellers — three of which arrived over the past month.

After reviewing the reports, we believe the claims to be either exaggerated or incorrect. We believe these short reports stem from a misunderstanding of the company, its position in the gaming ecosystem, and its future ambitions,” said ARK in a note released yesterday.

The aforementioned ARKW was one of the first ETFs to own Skillz shares in size.

ARK Buying More Skillz Stock

The Wednesday rally in Skillz looked liked it would carry over to Thursday, as the shares opened sharply higher, only to drift lower throughout the day. It ultimately closed in the red, as the broader market slumped following news of President Biden’s proposal for a massive capital gains tax hike.

Even with that headwind, ARK went back to the Skillz well, snatching up another 1.22 million shares for inclusion in the ARK Innovation ETF. The buying continued yesterday, though at a far more modest pace, as the fund issuer brought nearly 3,900 Skillz shares to ARKK.

With this week’s purchases of Skillz stock, ARK Investment Management owns nearly 12.1 million shares of that name. Based on the most recently available institutional ownership data, Wood’s firm is likely now the second-largest professional holder of Skillz. At the end of last year, Wildcat Capital Management — Len Potter’s and David Bonderman’s family office — owned 21.43 million shares.

Bullish on Skillz, Others

Obviously, ARK is enthusiastic about Skillz, and if the firm’s wager is correct, shorts could be crimped in the process.

“Skillz is a leading mobile games platform that enables competitive esports-style play,” said the firm. “Leveraging its patented match-making technology, Skillz hosts billions of casual esports tournaments worldwide per year.”

Skillz isn’t the only gaming name held by ARK. The fund stepped into DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) this year, and that buying continued consistently this week.

ARK owns 6.67 million shares of DraftKings across three of its ETFs, also making it one of the largest institutional holders of that stock.