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AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) is in full focus following a report from The Chainsaw that claims that bankrupt cryptocurrency firm FTX may have been used to manipulate the price of AMC stock.
The Chainsaw had previously reported that it had discovered a contract for a total supply of 525,000 wrapped AMC tokens that were listed on FTX. This contradicts previous reports that stated there were a total of about 400 million tokenized AMC shares and raises concerns as to whether FTX owned the underlying AMC shares.
Experts have noted that synthetic stocks could have been used by hedge funds and other institutional investors to manipulate the price of stocks without attracting attention. Per The Chainsaw, financial analyst Peter Hann says the following:
“When you borrow shares to short, your broker has to claim they can locate. If some stupid crypto exchange says they have 400 million AMC shares, then maybe the broker claims they can easily find.”
Did Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX ‘Manipulate’ AMC Stock?
As of Nov. 7, FTX’s website stated that it had issued 400 million tokenized AMC shares. The exchange stated that these shares were backed by AMC stock through custodian CM Equity. On the contrary, however, CM disclosed in a statement published last December that it had ended its relationship with the crypto exchange.
As a result, The Chainsaw notes that any AMC shares purchased by FTX this year were not custodied with CM Equity. On top of that, a leaked FTX balance sheet showed that it did not own any stocks besides Robinhood (NASDAQ:HOOD). On Nov. 27, FTX deleted the AMC token whitepaper from its website.
So, how exactly did FTX’s actions contribute to the possible manipulation of AMC? Stock brokers charge a borrow fee when short sellers bet against a stock to provide the short seller with borrowed shares. When borrow fees are higher, it becomes more expensive to short a stock due to the lower availability of borrowable shares. This could have caused institutional investors to argue for a lower borrow fee due to the existence of tokenized AMC shares, which may have eased the availability of “located” shares.
Between the end of August and early November, the borrow fee of AMC averaged 18%, according to The Chainsaw. However, after Nov. 8, the borrow fee rose significantly, reaching 55% as of Nov. 10. Keep in mind that former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried revealed the exchange was insolvent on Nov. 8.
The evidence consolidated by The Chainsaw certainly seems compelling. Neither company has addressed the claims yet.
On the date of publication, Eddie Pan did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Eddie Pan specializes in institutional investments and insider activity. He writes for InvestorPlace’s Today’s Market team, which centers on the latest news involving popular stocks.
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