Overstock’s Byrne Defends Sale Of Personal Shares

After what he called an “unanticipated stir” among shareholders who questioned his sale of approximately 900,000 personal shares of Overstock, founder and CEO Patrick Byrne released a letter to shareholders defending the move.

According to a Reuters report, shares of the company fell about 16% on Wednesday, May 15, after a filing revealed that Byrne, Overstock’s largest shareholder, had sold about 500,000 of his shares, or 9% of his stake. Byrne said on Friday, May 17, that he had sold a total of about 900,000 of his shares, or 15.5% of his stake. Overstock shares fell on May 15 from $12.76 to $10.87.

“A year ago, I told shareholders that I would be making significant sales to fund a variety of projects,” Byrne said in the letter, which then detailed some of Byrne’s charity initiatives and other investments.

The letter went on to state, in part, “Recently I made a tremendous effort to disclose all possibly relevant information in our earnings release and our shareholder meeting, so that after the meeting, come what may, I could conduct such sales… As we recently discussed in our Q1 2019 earnings call and shareholders meeting that occurred the same day, the quicker-than-expected rebound towards profitability of our e-commerce coupled with our Medici Ventures companies has me as optimistic as ever about the future.”

Overstock recently released its first quarter results, reporting a net loss of $39.2 million, or $1.18 per diluted share, versus $50.9 million, or $1.74 per diluted share, for the year-before period. Total revenue was $367.7 million as compared to $445.3 million in the year-before period. Retail revenue fell to $362.6 million versus $440 million in the quarter year over year.