Gaming Stock Surging After Billion-Dollar DraftKings Acquisition

The equity looks ripe for a short squeeze

Deputy Editor
Aug 9, 2021 at 10:52 AM
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The shares of Golden Nugget Online Gaming Inc (NASDAQ:GNOG) are up 45% to trade at $17.77 this morning, following news that DraftKings (DKNG) agreed to acquire the firm in an all-stock deal worth $1.56 billion. DraftKings will be able to "leverage Golden Nugget's well-known brand, iGaming product experience and existing combined database of more than 5 million customers," according to a statement from DraftKings. Under the agreement, shareholders of Golden Nugget will receive 0.365 shares of DKNG's new holding company New DraftKings, for each share held as part of the deal, with the transaction set to close in the first quarter of 2022. 

GNOG gapped to its highest level in roughly five months right out of the gate, clearing recent pressure at its 60-day moving average. Looking back, the equity had been chopping lower since hitting a record high of $27.18 on Jan. 28, though it looks to have found a floor at the $11 level during the third quarter of this year. Golden Nugget stock is still off 4.5% in 2021, but boasts a year-over-year lead of 45%. 

Short interest on GNOG shot up 72.2% in the most recent two reporting periods, and now makes up 9% of the stock's available float, or nearly four days' worth of pent-up buying power. Should some of these shorts begin to change their tune, a short squeeze could propel the stock even higher. 

Analysts, meanwhile, have been incredibly bullish on Golden Nugget stock. All three in coverage call it a "strong buy," while the 12-month consensus price target of $24 is a 29.2% premium to current levels. 

The typically quiet options pits are going wild in response. So far, 25,000 calls and 5,297 puts have crossed the tape -- an incredible 48 times the intraday average. The most popular is the August 20 call, followed distantly by the 15 call in the same series, with positions being bought to open at the former. This suggests these traders are expecting even more upside for GNOG by the time these contracts expire on Aug. 20. 

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