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Overstock’s controversial former CEO sold his entire $90 million stake to pile into gold and crypto investments (OSTK)

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Patrick Byrne, OverstockAP Photo/George Frey

  • Overstock founder and former CEO Patrick Byrne sold nearly 5 million shares totaling roughly $90 million in order to invest in gold and cryptocurrencies, according to regulatory filings and a Wednesday blog post.
  • The former executive said his sale was to separate the company from his own controversial statements, and that regulatory agencies would "try to break Overstock as a way of crippling me."
  • Byrne resigned from the position August 22 after an unusual statement addressing the "Deep State" tanked the company’s stock.
  • The press release also drew attention to his three-year relationship with Russian spy Maria Butina, although it wasn’t specifically mentioned.
  • Watch Overstock trade live here.

Overstock founder and former CEO Patrick Byrne sold nearly 5 million shares totaling roughly $90 million in order to invest in "counter-cyclical" assets like gold and cryptocurrencies.

Byrne plans to make his new investments by Friday. He can also provide "a capital injection if needed by buying back into Overstock" as soon as March 17, 2020, a Wednesday blog post highlighted.

The former executive added that his move into crypto and precious metals allows him to move his capital "outside acts of retaliation from the Deep State."

"That is important because, in fact, I am now going to shellac them," he wrote. "Actually, ‘shellac’ is too weak a word for what I intend to do to the Deep State. Sit back and enjoy the show."

The company’s founder cited insurance, controversy, and hedging for the reasons behind his sale, and that it wasn’t due to a "lack of confidence" in the e-commerce business. Finding corporate insurance while leading Overstock was "impossible," the former CEO said, and the company’s success in 2019 made for a good time to sell.

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Byrne added that his controversial statements would negatively affect the company, as he expects regulatory bodies to "try to break Overstock as a way of crippling me." The firm can avoid any Byrne-related hot water now that his stake is eliminated, he said.

"You think me controversial now, but you ain’t seen nothing yet. I know enough to fry the Deep State to ashes," Byrne wrote.

The company’s stock fell as much as 8.9% early Thursday before paring some losses. Overstock traded at $15.56 per share as of 11:21 a.m. ET, and is up about 9% year-to-date.

Byrne exited the company August 22, calling himself "already too controversial to serve as CEO." The former executive issued a press release August 12 saying he assisted in federal elections into the 2016 US presidential election.

He regarded the statement as "comments on the Deep State," referred to law-enforcement officials as "the Men in Black," and said his decision to issue the release was encouraged by his "Omaha Rabbi."

The August 12 press release also drew attention to his three-year relationship with Russian spy Maria Butina, though it wasn’t specifically mentioned. Byrne’s statement was made to publicize his issues with how the federal government handled its case against Butina, the New York Times reported.

Byrne’s resignation saw shares trade up to 17% higher August 22.

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bwinck@businessinsider.com (Ben Winck)

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