Small oil explorer Torchlight Energy Resources Inc. has sold $100 million in new shares – with a bit of help from Redditors. As a result, the company is one of the newest small and mid-sized companies to join the meme stock squad, firms whose stocks surge astonishingly due to people on social media.
The Texas-headquartered oil company is the latest beneficiary of retail trader endorsement, after social media platform Reddit promoted it as a prospective short squeeze. The small firm cashed in on the hype in no time – selling more than $100 million new shares.
Torchlight, which began the year as a $71 million company, announced the sale in an SEC filing on Monday. Since its inception, it has increased its value nearly a dozen fold to about $1 billion. The company also announced that it’s poised to issue more stocks amounting to $150 million.
The firm is enjoying a recent wave of success, far from its nondescript role for four years. In hindsight, it warned investors last month that it may close shop following a series of losses. It has been quiet for at least four years before it made headlines again, thanks to Reddit.
Torchlight, meme stock
This makes Torchlight the latest firm to join the ranks of meme stocks touted by Reddit retail traders. The publicity fueled a 58% increase in stock, only to see a decline in shares by 25% on Tuesday.
Despite its own doomsday announcement, Reddit retail traders were quick to hype the stock, encouraging investors to profit from the firm through a short squeeze and dividends. Redditors have become famous for meme stocks, such as Gamestop, AMC, Corsair Gaming, and Clean Energy Fuels.
Retail traders “hopped on board” the Torchlight bandwagon following multiple mentions on Reddit and seing a pre-market rally. These traders usually look for stocks which high short-interest rates, which Torchlight has. Fintel.io reports that the Torchlight stock possesses a 26% short-interest volume.
However, consistent with meme stock behavior, Torchlight shares tumbled 29% to $7 on the NYSE by Tuesday, registering its biggest loss per day in nearly 11 months. Its biggest investors include George McCabe, its chairman (10.6% stake) and the company CEO John Brda (1.6%).
The oil company announced that it is extending the closing date of its future merger with Canada-based Metamaterial to June 30. The extension will provide sufficient time to facilitate payment of preferred stock dividends to the company’s shareholders by June 25.