When meme investors kill. The CFO of troubled Bed, Bath & Beyond committed suicide

The American chain of home goods and decor Bed, Bath & Beyond has lost one of its top managers. The head of finance, Gustavo Arnal, committed suicide on Friday. The fifty-two-year-old director was under constant pressure from the company’s mounting financial problems.

Bed Bath & Beyond confirmed Sunday that its chief financial officer, Gustavo Arnal, has died. Investigators believe Arnal’s fall from a Manhattan skyscraper was intentional and no fault of his own. Arnal did not leave behind any farewell letter, sources told CNBC.

“All of us at Bed Bath & Beyond are deeply saddened by this shocking loss,” the company said in a statement.

Arnal joined Bed Bath in 2020, just after the start of the covid pandemic, which dealt a severe blow to the company’s finances. Lockdowns followed by supply and cash flow problems escalated into branch closures and massive layoffs. A few days before Arnal’s death, the company announced that it would lay off about a fifth of its employees and close 150 stores.

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Bed, Bath & Beyond’s current economic situation is infamous. With each subsequent quarter, the company reports a continued decline in sales and a growing loss. In addition to all this, the so-called meme investors became active and played with the price of the company’s shares. It rose sixfold during the summer alone – from five to almost 30 dollars.

Bed, Bath & Beyond’s securities received the hardest blow in mid-August, when it was revealed that influential activist investor Ryan Cohen and his RC Capital had divested themselves of their approximately 12 percent stake in the company. He was one of the engines of their growth that started in the spring of this year.

Shares fell by almost half after the announcement of the stake sale. They are now trading at a tenth of their all-time high.

Arnal himself has made several purchases and sales of the company’s stock since joining Bed, Bath & Beyond. Last month, he sold more than 55,000 shares at prices ranging from $20 to $29.95 a share, for a total of $1.23 million. This follows from a mandatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These sales were made as part of a business plan that Arnal signed in April this year. The filing also said he still held 255,396 shares of the company after these latest sales.

His death is still under investigation, according to police authorities.

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Shares of American home goods and decor chain Bed, Bath & Beyond have risen sixfold this year. But on Friday, they collapsed almost in half. Activist investors play with them.

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