Gustavo Arnal, the beleaguered home-goods company’s chief financial officer, jumped from the 18th floor of Manhattan’s iconic “Jenga building,” where apartments cost up to $50 million. Arnal and GameStop Chairman Ryan Cohen, a major shareholder in Bed Bath & Beyond, were accused in a federal suit filed last month in Washington of artificially inflating the company’s stock.
“With control over a significant portion of the public float, Cohen would essentially act as a price support for the stock while Gustavo would act in a similar capacity by controlling the sale of shares by Insiders,” the lawsuit claims. “Under this arrangement, defendants would profit handsomely from the rise in price and could coordinate their selling of shares to optimize their returns.”
— New York Post (@nypost) September 4, 2022
The company’s stock rose from $4.38 per share on July 1, 2022, to $30 per share on Aug. 17, 2022. Between March and August, Cohen, Arnal, and J.P. Morgan Securities — another defendant in the lawsuit — plotted to hype the stock and sell their own positions, according to the lawsuit. Cohen is also founder of the pet food company Chewy.com
Arnal sold over 42,000 shares of the company for $1 million just over two weeks ago, according to MarketBeat.com. He retained 267,896 shares, valued at the time at over $6 million.
Arnal joined the company in 2020 after stints at Avon and Proctor & Gamble. He came on board during the early stages of the COVID pandemic, when the company’s struggles were just beginning.
“Gustavo exemplifies this and his experience delivering business transformation at other leading companies, his deep knowledge of the retail and consumer goods space, as well as his energy and drive will help accelerate our transformation plans,” the company said at the time.
The company’s stock, as well as GameStop’s, has been whipsawed by so-called “meme” traders who buy up shares of a stock hedge funds are shorting, or betting on to fall. Meme traders strategize on Reddit to drive up the price of the outstanding shares short sellers will need to cover their bets. It leaves the big investors with no choice but to buy the stocks at higher prices and incur big losses. But when the meme investors pull out, the stock once again craters.
Arnal sold his stock on the same day a 20-year-old college student made headlines – and a $110 million profit — by selling his Bed Bath and Beyond shares just before the price fell nearly 25%.
The Jenga building from which Arnal jumped was designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Neuron and takes its name from its “houses stacked in the sky” appearance, which features misaligned apartments that resemble the popular game.