Alaska's GameStop stake soared over 700% last quarter – and its Tesla bet has gone from $0 to $85 million in 18 months

Alaskan sled dogs.

Reuters/Nathaniel Wilder

  • Alaska benefited from the GameStop buying frenzy in January.
  • The state's GameStop holding surged more than 700% to $7 million last quarter.
  • Alaska also owns over $85 million of Tesla stock, after eliminating its stake in 2019.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

There have been several surprising beneficiaries of the GameStop short squeeze in January, including the Mormon Church. The state of Alaska has also emerged as an unlikely winner.

The state's revenue department has owned a stake in the video-games retailer since at least 2017, and held about 43,000 shares worth $802,000 at the end of December last year, regulatory filings show.

Although it trimmed its bet to 37,000 shares last quarter, the position's value still surged more than eight-fold to over $7 million after Reddit users engineered an explosion in GameStop's stock price.

The Alaskan agency could have scored an even bigger windfall. It held more than 69,000 GameStop shares in the third quarter of 2019, which would have been worth $34 million at the height of the short squeeze.

Separately, Alaska's revenue department has warmed to Tesla in recent months. It eliminated its stake in Elon Musk's electric-vehicle company in the second half of 2019, and owned only 2,000 shares at the end of September last year.

However, it bolstered its position to about 127,000 shares during the following quarter, when Tesla joined the S&P 500 index. The agency's stake was worth more than $85 million at the end of March this year, making Tesla one of its largest holdings.

Overall, Alaska's stock portfolio rose in value by about 5% to $9.2 billion last quarter. The state doesn't tax personal incomes or sales, so it relies on oil taxes and royalties, federal funding, and investments to fund its budget.

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