Overstock CEO responds to concern after selling off 900,000 founders shares

Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne said he sold off about 900,000 “founders shares” in the company to fund other projects, including investments in Blockchain technology. The sale drew concern from shareholders, which led Byrne to make a statement on the sale of personal shares, claiming he had previously told shareholders he would be making “significant sales” last year.

Byrne indicated that he was unhappy with the intrigue from other shareholders surrounding his sales.

“Frankly, I had no idea that shareholders would demand explanations of why and how I might want to use my cash derived from my labor and my property to pursue my ends in life,” he said in the statement. “Not once have I ever asked a shareholder for his reasons in any decision he made. Yet, given the consternation this has caused, I will give answer, to preclude further recurrence of mass vapors.”

This answer included an explanation of the timing of the sales, which Byrne said coincided with his disclosing of relevant information in a shareholders meeting. Since the time he told shareholders of his plans to sell to fund other projects last year, Byrne said there were few moments in which he felt comfortable selling his stock since he was often in possession of non-public information.

After disclosing all relevant information at the shareholders meeting, he felt ready to make the sale, although disappointed to sell at Wednesday’s share price since he expects significant growth from Overstock this year after last year’s 52 week lows.

“I simply had to supplement my nominal salary with stock sales in order to fulfill personal commitments to invest personally in blockchain projects such as Medici Land Governance, along with a need to meet charitable pledges such as those outlined above,” he said, referencing earlier mentions of investments of $12.5 million in Blockchain products and $50 million in donations to charity.