Why Overstock.com’s Shares Fell 11% This Morning


Under new leadership, the e-tailer is still turning into a blockchain business.

Anders Bylund

What happened

Shares of Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) fell as much as 10.7% on Monday morning, recovering to a 9.7% drop at noon, EDT. The longtime e-commerce specialist held a conference call before market open to discuss the ramifications of last week’s leadership shakeup, and investors generally didn’t like what they were hearing.

So what

Founder and CEO Patrick Byrne left Overstock last week under seemingly scandalous circumstances. Byrne published a press release on Monday to confirm that he had been involved in high-profile FBI probes involving Russia, Hillary Clinton, and the so-called deep state. He stepped down from every function of company leadership on Thursday, handing over the reins to interim CEO Jonathan Johnson.

Johnson held a conference call early Monday morning to update Overstock’s investors on what the new leadership situation will mean. In short, not much is changing, and that message wasn’t popular with the company’s shareholders today.

A businessman standing on a highway marked cryptocurrency, which stretches into a giant question mark in the sky.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Johnson confirmed that Overstock will continue along roughly the same course that his predecessor had set the company on. The retail operation is still looking for a buyer, allowing Overstock’s core operations to shift into the tZERO crypto token exchange and other blockchain-based business ideas. At the same time, Singapore-based investment company Makara Capital said that it won’t invest in tZERO at the moment. The fund had been looking into a large tZERO investment since the spring of 2019. The interim management team framed Makara’s decision as a potential for larger investments later on, but the optics of losing an expected round of tZERO funding are still unquestionably bad.

This stock has now fallen 25% in the last 52 weeks while also climbing 86% higher in three months. Overstock has become an ultra-volatile gambling chip, prone to wild swings on both good and bad news. I’m quite content with watching Overstock from the sidelines until the blockchain strategy starts to make sense.


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