By John McDonald
Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock.com Inc., recently sold his 5 million shares in the company for about $90 million, then announced that he would use the newly liquidated capital to buy gold and cryptocurrency.
Byrne, who made headlines in September of this year when he resigned as the company’s CEO in the wake of unpopular public comments about the “Deep State” and government espionage, blogged about the mass sale.
He wrote in his “Message to My Former Colleagues at Overstock” that he wanted to invest in assets that are “counter-cyclical to the economy.”
He stated he would buy gold, silver, and two different cryptocurrencies.
Byrne alleged in his post that he had been compelled to leave Overstock not because he had lost faith in the company, but because “if I had stayed at Overstock or even remained a large owner, they [the SEC] would try to break Overstock as a means of crippling me.”
He explained that now he is no longer a shareholder in the company, “it becomes pointless for them to try to get at me that way.”
Bryne went on to say that although he has faith in the company, he prefers to place his capital in precious metals like gold and silver because if and when “the economy craters” his former company will be able to rely on a capital injection from him because his precious-metals investments will be soaring in value.
“Please remember that as you watch the global chaos,” he wrote. “If you see the U.S. economy cratering, please do not lose the sleep you otherwise might.”
Byrne would be prevented from making this type of injection via a new purchase of shares until March 17, 2020.
In the wake of Byrne’s massive stock dump, share values fell nearly 9 percent. However, the stock is still up about 9 percent year-over-year. Although most analysts and investors, including Byrne, predict that retail will continue to perform well through the end of this year, the online sales space is becoming increasingly competitive.
As the “pool” gets crowded, online retailers like Overstock distinguish themselves through their fulfillment strategies. In fact, some experts estimate retailers without online fulfillment options will find themselves increasingly obsolete and forced out of business beginning next year.
Byrne had sold about $120 million in Overstock shares prior to the exposure of his involvement with Russian spy Maria Butina prior to and during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
He invested those assets in cryptocurrency, gold, and silver as well. Byrne claims to prefer holding physical precious metals to most other investments and once described his portfolio’s precious metals as being “scattered in other locations that… are safe for me.”