AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron has seen his net worth rise more than $200 million since the start of the year thanks to a rally fueled by retail investors, according to securities filings.
The theater chain, which has become a favorite of retail investors and social media bulletin boards, saw its stock rise more than 1600% in 2021. AMC shares more than doubled in feverish trading Wednesday. They also set a record high of $72.62, which was well above their previous record share price.
According to equity data from Equilar, Aron’s shares were worth approximately $8 million in early 2021. Those shares are now worth more than $220 million, meaning the rally added more than $210 million to his net worth.
Although Aron did not sell any shares, he donated 500,000 shares to his two sons in March. Those shares are now worth more than $25 million.
While Aron may have “diamond hands” when it comes to his AMC stock — to use a popular social media expression to hold a stock — other company executives have cashed in on a significant portion of their holdings. All told, AMC executives have sold more than $4 million in inventory since early March.
The company’s chief content officer, Elizabeth Frank, sold 100,000 shares in March for a total of $1.1 million, according to the 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 profit of $411,000.
The company did not respond to a request for comment. It’s unclear if any of the sales were part of a pre-planned stock sale program.
The stock sales and lead-ups show how the new generation of meme stocks — such as GameStop, Koss, and BlackBerry — have created great wealth for insiders. It also shows that Aron’s strategy of courting small investors with memes, social media endorsement — not to mention free popcorn and movie screenings — has become very lucrative.
“Cultivating relationships with retail investors is smart,” said tech entrepreneur and Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff. “It’s one of the reasons many companies, especially consumer companies, go public in the first place.”