AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron has seen his wealth soar by more than $200 million since the start of the year thanks to a retail-investor fueled rally, according to securities filings.
The theater chain, which has become a favorite of retail investors and social media message boards, has seen its stock surge by more than 1,600% in 2021. AMC shares more than doubled in fevered trading Wednesday. They also set set an all-time high of $72.62, which was far above their previous record share price.
Aron’s shares were worth about $8 million at the start of 2021, according to share data compiled by Equilar. Those shares are now worth over $220 million, which means the rally has added more than $210 million to his net worth.
While Aron hasn’t sold any shares, according to securities filings, he gifted 500,000 shares to his two sons in March. Those shares are now worth over $25 million.
While Aron may have “diamond hands” when it comes to his AMC shares — to use a popular expression on social media for holding on to a stock — other executives of the company have been cashing out a significant portion of their holdings. All together, AMC executives have sold more than $4 million in stock since the beginning of March.
The company’s chief content officer, Elizabeth Frank, sold 100,000 shares in March for a total of $1.1 million, according to filings. Senior vice president and general counsel Kevin Connor sold more than 72,000 shares in mid-March for a total of $983,000. The most recent filing shows chief marketing officer Stephen Colanero selling 15,000 shares for a gain of $411,000.
The company didn’t respond to a request for comment. It’s unclear whether any of the sales were part of a pre-scheduled share-sale program.
The stock sales and run-ups show how the new generation of meme-stocks — like GameStop, Koss and BlackBerry — have created large wealth for inside holders. It also shows that Aron’s strategy of courting retail investors with memes, expressions of support on social media — not to mention free popcorn and movie screenings — has become highly lucrative.
“Cultivating relationships with retail investors is smart,” tech entrepreneur and Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff said. “It’s one of the reasons that many companies, especially consumer companies, go public in the first place.”