Meme stock Tupperware jumps as debt restructuring deal fires up retail army

By Medha Singh and Savyata Mishra

(Reuters) -Shares of Tupperware Brands surged 44% on Friday, after the kitchen storage container maker finalized a debt restructuring deal as it attempts a turnaround of its business, reinvigorating retail investors’ interest in the company.

The Florida-based firm raised doubts in April about its ability to continue as a going concern as it struggles with slumping sales.

Tupperware said on Thursday it had struck an agreement with its lenders which will help reduce or reallocate about $150 million of cash interest and fees, and would give it immediate access to a revolving borrowing capacity of about $21 million.

The agreement “provides a lifeline, yet the market environment may prove to be extremely difficult,” said Bartosz Sawicki, market analyst at financial services firm Conotoxia.

After a surge in demand for Tupperware containers to store food during the lockdown, the company has witnessed a slide in sales volumes since 2022.

Widely recognized for its bright-colored plastic airtight containers, the company had recently caught retail traders’ attention, which has helped drive a more than 449% share surge over the past three weeks.

Tupperware was the fourth most touted stock on investors-focused social media, on Friday.

It was the seventh most traded stock by retail investors at 10:00 a.m. ET, according to J.P.Morgan data.

The price rally suggests “a lot of market participants were watching the company for this development,” said Peter Earle, economist at American Institute for Economic Research.

The share gains were reminiscent of eye watering “meme stocks” rallies, where retail investors coordinate on social media and typically focus their speculative bets on companies that were financially struggling or had high short interest.

Analytics firm Ortex estimated 30.8% of Tupperware’s publicly available shares were shorted. Bearish investors have lost $33 million on paper in the past three weeks.

Tupperware was the second most actively traded single stock by retail traders over the past week, according to a J.P.Morgan note.

The company had a market capitalization of $156.56 million on Thursday, after shedding about 87% of its value since the end of 2020.

Yellow and American Superconductor Corp, the other meme stocks active over the past week, rose 17% and 4.3%, respectively on Friday.

(Reporting by Medha Singh and Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)