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.