“King of Stonks,” a 2022 German series, doesn’t take the name of the scandal it is based on, but gives a hint that it is about the biggest financial scandal in the history of the country. The series, created by Philipp Kasbohrer and Matthias Murmann, takes inspiration from the infamous Wirecard scandal that shook the country. Netflix’s “King of Stonks” takes a few creative liberties and builds a narrative that keeps you on the edge of your seats. So let’s scrutinize how a company that was about to be listed on the DAX index, that had gained the immense trust of its shareholders and was gradually becoming a source of pride for the country, indulged in something so bizarre that even the regulatory agencies were baffled at the revelations.
‘King of Stonks’ Plot Summary – What The German Series Is About?
CableCash was supposed to go public in a day’s time, and the experts called it one of the most exciting IPOs in German history. Its CEO, Magnus A. Cramer, didn’t always have this over-the-top persona. Once, he was a subdued employee working for a consulting firm, who was mocked by his colleagues for his dullness and dreary outlook. 12 years ago, a woman named Jutta Katz founded a company named NetWorth. She wanted to offer economic pioneers an online payment option, which at that time was quite an uncharted territory. Deutsche Bank, at that time, wanted to buy out the company, not because they were interested in it, but because they knew that it was the most advanced digital payment technology present in the world at that time. Deutsche Bank hired two consultants from a coveted firm named Steeler Consulting. One of them was Magnus Cramer, who clearly wasn’t happy with his professional life and knew that he was destined to do something big. Felix Armand used to work for NetWorth, and he was a tech genius and the mind behind the creation of that software. Magnus Cramer had a plan in mind. They decided to sabotage the deal between Networth and Deutsche Bank. All he had to do was to talk to Felix and bring him on his side.
Overnight, the computer that had the software vanished from the office, and the deal between the two parties couldn’t see the light of day. The sales of NetWorth crashed terribly, and the company was bought for one euro by none other than two individuals, who were insulted and mocked at in the meeting, i.e., Dr. Magnus A. Cramer and Felix Armand. Networth was rebranded, and that’s how CableCash came into existence. Dr. Cramer wanted to be counted among the big players like Elon Musk and Bill Gates, and he was ready to do anything to achieve that goal.
The very first customers of CableCash were people who wanted to launder their illegal money. Fabian and Till Hermann, who ran an adult entertainment website, and the Viscontis, the Italian mafia family, were among them. These dubious customers were not only posing a threat to the reputation of the company but also to the lives of Cramer and Felix. They had kidnapped Cramer and left him alone when Felix came to the rescue and promised them that their money would be laundered as their customer base was increasing every passing day. But in reality, CableCash didn’t have new customers. So Felix decided to create fake ones by making Shell companies in the names of their own employees. That’s how he was able to give the Viscontis their money back. But the pompous CEO didn’t learn from his mistake and believed more in hollow branding rather than actually paying attention to the numbers and delivering what he had promised. Cramer had promised the investors and the shareholders that his company had a growth rate of 30 percent for the first quarter. Felix, on the other hand, knew that it was not true. Cramer, after getting a good response at the “Next in Tech” expo, had decided to deliver a speech at the Global Economic Forum, but Felix was still worried because their audit sheets would then be scrutinized, and that would mean that their cover would be blown.
To add to the chaos, a woman named Sheila Williams arrives at the scene. She uses the pseudonym of Amira Wallace and tries to get close to Felix. Sheila lied about her identity and pretended to be the daughter of a business tycoon who had inherited family money, but in reality, she was a short seller and was only talking to Felix so that she could get some insider details about CableCash. Sheila had borrowed a huge sum of money and placed a bet against CableCash because she knew about the fraudulent means and methods the company was resorting to. In the 3rd episode of “King of Stonks,” we see Dr. Cramaer go face-to-face with activist Julie Roux on the stage of the Global Economic Forum while Felix planned a coup to dethrone the extravagant Cramer.
What Was Felix Armand’s Asia Expansion Plan? What Did Steeler Consulting Have In Their Audit Report?
In the 3rd episode of “King of Stonks,” we saw how the coup that Felix Armand had intricately planned against Dr. Cramer ended in a debacle, and he couldn’t hurt his image the way he had wanted. Felix was promised the position of CEO by Cramer, and the former thought that he was rightfully entitled to it, as he was the brains behind the company. Dr. Cramer denied him that position, and instead appointed him as the COO, as he was of the opinion that having two CEOs would cause unnecessary confusion for the investors. Moreover, Felix was not getting the acclamation he had expected. He had been with Cramer since the inception of the company, and it was his code that led to the creation of CableCash. But he was always treated as an inconsequential person by Cramer, and his views and opinions were not only undermined but sometimes publicly thrashed.
Moreover, with the arrival of Klaus and him sharing a close bond with Cramer, Felix became even more insecure. Klaus was a power broker who knew the most influential people in the world. Cramer also knew that his contacts would help them in expanding their market to Asia. After a failed attempt to dethrone Cramer, Felix knew that he had to be in the system to change it and bring the odds in his favor. He asked Cramer to let him handle the Asian expansion plan all by himself. He knew that if he was able to execute this plan, then he might come into the limelight and be considered an indispensable asset to the company. Meanwhile, there was a lot of speculation being made that the audit sheets of CableCash had fallacies and that they were trying to cover it all up. An inquiry was being demanded by the investors and the general shareholders. Sheila Williams knew that if an independent consultancy conducted an inquiry, the frauds would come to light, and she would make a lot of money as the share prices would crash.
Rene Luckenroth, from the renowned Steeler Consultancy was appointed as the official to conduct the inquiry. Steeler’s consultancy enjoyed such authority that once they gave a green signal, nobody doubted the finances of the company. Sheila knew that Rene shared good relationships with Felix and Cramer, as he worked as a contract consultant for CableCash itself. Sheila approached Rene in the parking lot and pretended to be from the DA office. She warned him that the DA office was suspicious of the company, and if his report was misleading or manipulated in any manner, then he would also be in a lot of trouble. Sheila had a gut feeling that this stunt would lead to the truth coming out. But the opposite happened. The report published by Steeler Consultants declared that CableCash did not indulge in any kind of malpractice. Sheila lost all her money and didn’t know what to do next. Rene Luckenroth was later facilitated by Cramer, who was once again able to evade a roadblock.
Felix had made a plan to show a profit of 300 million dollars even though the company was not making any profit whatsoever in reality. He planned that a small company named Tikksystem would be bought for 2 million dollars by a rich Asian businessman who was a friend of Klaus. Then that businessman, acting as a middle man, will sell the same company to CableCash for a whopping amount of $300 million. After that, 290 million would find its way back to CableCash as revenue earned by Tikksystem. In this manner, CableCash would be able to show a profit of 290 million on paper and increase the value of the company. Though the plan was a success, an untoward situation once again put Felix on the back foot. Felix had planned that he would tip off the local police in Bangkok, where they had gone to make a deal with Tikksystem, and that’s how he would get rid of Thai-Klaus. He planted drugs on Klaus, and was waiting for the police to arrive at the scene and arrest him, while they were sitting in a restaurant enjoying their meal. Just then, Klaus told him that he was planning to leave CableCash and go in search of greener pastures. He told Felix that he had confidence in him and that he felt that he had done what was required of him. Felix froze there and then. He realized that he had unnecessarily made all the plans, as Klaus was himself going to leave the company. He has a change of heart and tells Klaus to leave the restaurant immediately, but it is too late. The police came and arrested Klaus for illegal possession of drugs.
Cramer knew that it was Felix who was behind Klaus’ arrest. He somehow managed to get Klaus out of the Bangkok prison and made him the Head of International Strategy. Felix’s plan backfired completely, and instead of winning accolades for his efforts, his relationship with Cramer went downhill, as the latter saw through his motives.
‘King of Stonks’ Ending Explained – Is Sheila Williams Able To Expose Cablecash? Does Felix Have A Plan B?
Sheila found another investor, and this time she knew the stakes were even higher, because not only did she have to place the right bet, but she had to repay the sum she had taken from her earlier investor too. She met Felix, who was still totally unaware of her identity. They shared an intimate moment, and she used her proximity to her leverage. She got to know about Tikksystems and the fraudulent acquisitions and transactions carried out by CableCash. She had once shared a close bond with a journalist named Tom Wieland, and he was ready to publish the report in his newspaper. All he needed was some evidence, and now Sheila had that. It was decided that Sheila would start short-selling just moments before the article came out and then win her bet as the share prices would drop drastically. Felix had decided that he would leave the country as CableCash was a sinking ship. He had plans to go to Kazakhstan (as his ally from Austrian intelligence could arrange a passport for that country only) together with Sheila, whom he still believed to be Amira Wallace.
Just moments after he gave his resignation speech, his driver, Sascha, made him aware of the real identity of Sheila. Felix was disheartened, and at that moment, he thought of a plan, which he didn’t tell anybody about. Cramer wanted to be in the DAX group, a stock index that only had the largest and most reputed German companies. For the same purpose, he had decided to let Deutsche Bank take over CableCash. Moments after resigning, Felix once again went back to the stage, took advantage of a drunk Cramer, and made him say on a video that CableCash would never be acquired by Deutsche Bank. Next, he needed to somehow stop Tom Wieland from printing his article. He tried to threaten him, and scare him, but that didn’t work as Tom had the support of the authorities. So Felix applied his mind and hatched another plan. He met Sheila in the bar, which he frequently used to visit. Sheila left, giving him an ultimatum, and that’s when Felix played his last and final card. He knew that Mike Silver, who owned the bar, used to be a short seller too. Felix pretended to be drunk and told him about the report that was being published by Tom Wieland. Felix knew that Mike, too, would short sell, if he knew such critical information was coming from such an authentic source.
The next day, when Sheila was about to place the bet, she noticed that a lot of people were short-selling. She asked Tom if he had told anyone about the article, but he denied doing so. Sheila was skeptical but still put all her money in as she believed that nothing could go wrong. Tom decided to pull back his article, as he knew that he could be accused of market manipulation. But before he could inform his editor about the leaked news, the article had gone public. Cramer held a press conference and put the blame on the hedge fund manager Sheila Williams and her ally, Tom Wieland, for market manipulation. Everything went according to Felix’s plan, and once again, people had their faith reinstated in CableCash. Felix proved his worth and asked Cramer for full executive power, as he no longer wanted to be the CEO of the company. Cramer signed the document and gave Felix the respect he deserved, for taking CableCash out of muddled waters, almost single-handedly.
Just then, the news popped up that in a plane crash in Brandenburg, four people had lost their lives, and one of them was Jutta Katz, their arch-rival and the Digital Representative of Deutsche Bank. It dawned upon Felix and Cramer that their new partners, i.e. the Visconti family and the Hermann brothers could be behind the crash. Once, Felix had expressed how Jutta Katz always caused trouble for them, and the mafia family was quick to tell him that she could always meet with an accident. Felix realized that they might have taken it way too seriously and had gone and done the needful in good faith. King of Stonks ends on a cliffhanger, where Dr. Cramer and Felix Armand are left with a hope that the mafia was not behind the crash and that they don’t have to face any more controversies. Incoming seasons of “King of Stonks” (if there are any) would explore if CableCash mends its ways and means, or if its fraudulent structure comes to light and exposes the masterminds behind it.
“King of Stonks” is a 2022 Drama Series created by Philipp Kasbohrer and Matthias Murmann.