ARK Pares Stake in Slumping Skillz Stock


Mobile games developer Skillz Inc. (NYSE:SKLZ) is probing new lows today as stocks sag and as market participants price in the fact that a major investor reduced its stake in the gaming name.

Skillz stock
Skillz stock
ARK Invest CEO and founder Cathie Wood. Her firm sold a big chunk of Skillz stock on Tuesday. (Image: Reuters)

On Tuesday, Cathie Wood’s ARK Investment Management dumped 952,252 shares of Skillz from the ARK Innovation ETF (NYSEARCA:ARKK) — the issuer’s largest exchange-traded fund. This isn’t the first time the New York-based money manager pared its position in Skillz, but it is the firm’s biggest sale of the stock since it began building a position in the name earlier this year.

Wood’s firm is an active manager, meaning it’s constantly buying and selling various stocks and altering positions in its ETFs, including ARKK. Still, the fund issuer’s sale of Skillz stock could raise some eyebrows because it comes as the gaming name is mired in a lengthy slump that’s seen it shed 56.55 percent year-to-date and 81.47 percent from its February highs.

Following Tuesday’s sale, ARK owns 10.94 million shares of Skillz in ARKK. The fund sponsor also holds nearly six million Skillz shares in the ARK Next Generation ETF (NYSEARCA:ARKW).

Wild Year for Skillz Stock

San Francisco-based Skillz became a standalone public company last December following a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Since then, it’s been an eventful ride for the gaming company. Not only are investors taking de-SPACed companies to task for cushy deal terms for early investors and lack of profitability, but specific to Skillz, the company is enduring a spate of bearish commentary as at least three short sellers published overtly negative research on the firm earlier this year.

One of those reports claims Skillz overstates its growth opportunities while another says the company may be engaging in accounting chicanery. Previously, ARK defended the company against the short sellers, calling some of the research misguided.

Today, 20.52 percent of Skillz shares outstanding are sold short and the stock recently generated some buzz as one potentially ripe for a short squeeze, but that scenario has yet to materialize.

ARK Still Fond of Gaming Equities

While ARK reduced its stake in Skillz stock, the ETF issuer remains bullish on some other gaming equities, namely DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) and Genius Sports (NYSE:GENI).

Wood’s firm recently added to positions in the online sportsbook operator and the provider of sports wagering data.

DraftKings is a holding in the aforementioned ARKK and ARKW as well as the ARK Fintech Innovation ETF (NYSEARCA:ARKF) while Genius Sports is a component in the internet ETF. ARK is one of the largest institutional investors in both gaming equities.

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