Overstock CEO To Sell eCommerce Business To Focus on Blockchain

Overstock CEO Says Its eCommerce Business Could Be Sold Within Three Months

On Thursday (Dec. 14), Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne revealed that within the next three months the company should have a deal to sell or reorganize its retail business to focus on blockchain.

In the interview with CNBC, Byrne said, “my goal is [within] 60 to 90 days we walk away from this,” noting he has an “ethical obligation” to focus on his new De Soto joint venture for the next five years. “We think we can change the world for 5 billion people,” he said.

Byrne said he’s looking at selling the home goods eCommerce unit to a traditional retailer, a strategic investor — “probably a guy out of Asia” who could invest in the business — or it could go private with a private equity company. He mentioned the likes of Bain Capital, The Carlyle Group or KRR.

The comments from Byrne come at a time when Overstock stocks are surging because of its blockchain efforts. In November, shares jumped 30 percent after D.A. Davidson Analyst Tom Forte reported Overstock may sell its home goods and furniture eCommerce unit so as to focus on bitcoin blockchain technology.

The company’s stock has received a boost since it said it would launch a digital coin trading platform via its tZero subsidiary and would raise money for it via an initial coin offering (ICO). All told, Overstock’s shares have risen 200 percent in 2017. Earlier this week, the stock jumped after Morgan Stanley Investment Management said it had acquired an 11.4 percent stake in the company.

According to news from CNBC, the Morgan Stanley unit said in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing late last week that it now owns close to 2.87 million shares of Overstock as of the end of November. A 13G filing is usually required for passive investors possessing a stake between 5 and 20 percent, but neither Morgan Stanley Investment Management nor Overstock.com has provided comment.