Marc Cohodes is the pinball wizard of shorting stocks. I’m not sure if Bally Manufacturing, a major pinball company back in 1983, still exists, but when playing video games at arcades started to become popular, a famous short seller got his start shorting the stock. I wonder how much money Marc Cohodes made on what appears to be the first time he shorted a stock….he also happens to have a six pinball machines in his office/man cave to remember this first shorting of a companies shares.
Cohodes’s journey to the top ranks of short selling began in Chicago, where he didn’t do well at school—he recalls his second-grade teacher worrying he’d end up in jail. He managed to avoid that fate, graduating from Babson College in Massachusetts, where he studied finance. In 1982 he landed a position back in his hometown with Northern Trust, where he met an analyst named Paul Landini who taught him about short selling. The two began visiting a local gaming arcade after work. There, one of Landini’s hunches grew into a conviction as they watched people spend their quarters: Video games would soon usurp pinball machines. They shorted a major pinball company, Bally Manufacturing, and watched with euphoria as the shares lost half their value from the start of 1983 to the end of 1984. Cohodes was hooked.(Bloomberg)
Turns out, this Bally Manufacturing would eventually turn into the Bally’s casino/slots brand. Not only did they have pinball machines but eventually slot machines, too…I’m guessing shorting this stock wasn’t an easy endeavor, cause if the company was swichting to slots and getting into casino gambling, I’m sure they were starting to make a lot of money.