Maybe you’ve noticed that despite increased direct registering of shares to ComputerShare, the price is generally not going up. I am not surprised by this – let me explain my reasoning.
The official number of shares outstanding is 76.5 million. I’m going to randomly guess that there are around 6-7 times that number of shares in circulation due to synthetics from derivatives – for easy math, let’s say 500 million.
Institutional and insider holdings make up about 14.5 million shares, which makes the free float 62 million. As that float decreases from 62 million shares to 0 shares, the number of outstanding shares will only decrease from 500 million to 438 million, or 12%. The percent decrease is even less if my guess of 500 million is too low. I think that this is not enough of a change in supply of shares to effect the price.
Up to the point when Computershare or GameStop announce that the float has been locked, there is no way to know which shares are synthetic and which shares are genuine, thus any synthetic share can be used to cover a FTD ad infinitum. Any sort of price manipulation is still possible until the float is officially recognized as being locked. <speculation> Once the float is locked, lenders to short sellers are able to require that FTDs be resolved only via genuine shares – synthetics will no longer be accepted as bona fide. </speculation>
TL;DR – Until the float is locked due to DRS, the price can be manipulated.
Edit: Clarified that last sentence before TL;DR may be speculation.