Short Selling, Miscreants Ball, and Conspiracies… OH MY!

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On August 12, 2005, Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) had a conference call he said was going to give information about the “August 11 lawsuit.”

The transcript is 17 glorious pages of Byrne rambling about his conspiracy theories. No questions. Just Byrne and conspiracy theories. I read it on Thursday. And I didn’t really know what to do with it. Do I try to summarize all the nonsense? Then what?

Fortunately, a poster on a stock message board has saved me the trouble. Here’s what he calls the Reader’s Digest version of the transcript. If you’re normal, you will get less than 1/4 through it and swear that this person is lying. The transcript of this public conference call sponsored by Overstock.com couldn’t possibly have happened this way. Oh yes, it could. Read the transcript for yourself! Continue reading

Thousands of Victims of Naked Short Selling, But I’m Not Naming Names!

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I’m not an expert on Naked Short Selling. Frankly, I’ve just never really been interested in the topic. Does it appear to exist? Yes. Does it appear to be the reason Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) is doing so poorly and its stock is far below where it was a few years ago? No. I’ve seen no proof of that.

But so long as Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne dons his tinfoil hat and raves about the big conspiracy, there is hope for his company!

An interview with Byrne by The Wall Street Transcript was posted on Seeking Alpha, and it says in part: Continue reading

The Overstock.com house of cards

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Quite a lot happened this past week at Overstock.com. Is the house of cards finally falling down?

Some think so. Gary Weiss even wrote a blog post entitled “Will the Last Overstock.com Director Please Turn Out the Lights.” And Sam Antar is wondering why people are distancing themselves from CEO Patrick Byrne.

The Overstock.com directors are dropping. It’s always a bad sign when one’s daddy is the first to resign from the Board of Directors, don’t you think? The stated reason for the departure of John J. Byrne was:

On July 31, 2006, John J. Byrne announced his retirement from the Board of Directors of the Company due to his new role as Chairman of White Mountains Insurance Group. The resignation did not result from a disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company.s operations, policies or practices.

It is interesting that the resignation supposedly has nothing to do with disagreements, but in an interview with CNet News a few months earlier, Patrick admitted that he and his father disagreed about his “jihad against short sellers”: Continue reading

Suing Short Sellers Who Publish Negative Reports

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Reuters published an interesting article about lawsuits against short sellers… like when Overstock sued Gradient Analytics and Rocker Partners.

“Short sellers” profit when a company’s stock price goes down. Negative information about companies tends to send the stock price down, so you can see the potential correlation here… short sellers benefit when negative information is made public.

David Rocker, retired general partner of Rocker Partners, discussed his lawsuit experience with Overstock.com. He was accused of purposely trying to push the stock price down. Continue reading