William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Rush Limbaugh & Overstock.com’s Patrick Byrne: Misogynists getting their due

    Rush Limbaugh apparently isn’t the only one paying dearly for his misogynistic ways. Overstock.com boss Patrick Byrne, who has shown himself to be a first-class misogynist himself (“So, why exactly did you become a reporter? Giving Goldman traders blowjobs didn’t work out?” he once e-mailed business reporter Bethany McLean), is currently riding his Internet retailing company straight into the ground.

    Via Sam Antar:

    Last Friday, Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) reported a fourth quarter net loss of $3.4 million compared to net income of $14.9 in the previous year’s fourth quarter. Its revenues declined 10% to $314.1 million compared to $348.9 million in the previous year’s fourth quarter. Details of the fourth quarter financial results were so bad, that Overstock.com did not present a full income statement for that quarter in its press release. Instead it only provided key metrics of its fourth quarter numbers and presented a full year income statement. For the entire year, Overstock.com reported a net loss of $19.4 million compared to net income of $13.9 million in the previous year. Its 2011 revenues decreased 3% to $1.054 billion compared to $1.090 billion in the previous year.As of December 31, 2011, the company reported a net working capital deficit (current assets less current liabilities) of $14.1 million. Overstock.com’s negative net working capital balance indicates that it’s having problems paying its bills as it entered into its traditionally weakest quarter of the year (the first quarter of 2012). Overstock.com common stock closed at $6.11 per share, down $0.77 per share as investors reacted to the company’s horrible earnings report.

    This is the latest setback for Byrne & Overstock.com, which has spent years “cooking their books” and misleading investors. In 2011, OSTK managed to make one of the year’s greatest PR blunders in trying to change its name to “O.co” (not a typo, that’s the name).

    The recent report came as a surprise to analysts. Via Reuters:

    Analysts, on average, had expected the company to earn 45 cents a share, on revenue of $377.6 million.

    One wonders who these analysts are. For those that have kept their eyes on Byrne – a donor to the Swiftboat attacks on John Kerry and a fierce supporter of a failed school voucher initiative in Utah – this collapse of his company has been easy to predict for some time now. And it appears no matter how hard he tries to libel & slander business journalists  (he’s currently being sued for libel in Canada), his company will pay the ultimate price for his mismanagement.


    Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles





    Longish comment eaten by crappy Flash plugin.

    Short version - comments to McLean were uncalled for in any case, but especially not with a fairly obvious column about an undeserved self-comparison between Overstock & Amazon.

    However, Sam Antor's association with Barry Minkow, a guy who did trash a company behind the scenes for fun and profit and went to jail for it?


    This is the insider trading racket that all these people says doesn't exist. Bethany can be excused in 2005 for denying. Denying in 2012 is willful fantasy. "Libel & slander" against the pseudo-journalists like Gary Weiss that abet this crime?

    As for Overstock, a 1.3% loss on $1 billion in sales is not a catastrophe - they've survived for 8 years with people predicting collapse any day. If they hadn't done "O.co", they would have likely met a 3rd year profit. Skinny, but still black.

    Gary Weiss is a hack. Is that hard to tell? Read more than 1 of his columns. You miss the point of sock puppetry in your 2009 article - writing as "IPFrehley" doesn't make you a sock puppet, as you obviously are joking. Writing as PeteThurgow or Karen Unger (real sounding names???) saying PeraclesPlease is a great writer is being a sock puppet.

    As for the libel suit in Canada, the plaintiff shut down Overstreet.com illegally byfalse claims to GoDaddy. While DeepCapture certainly put out some hard stuff on the one guy, they seem to have quite a bit to back it up. What's behind this bit on Nazereli:



    >" ... If they hadn't done "O.co", they would have likely met a 3rd year profit. ... "<

    Perhaps.  Or perhaps if they hadn't gamed Google and lost.  Or perhaps if they hadn't spent quite so much money being quite so litigious.  Or hadn't offended the schoolteachers.  Or been so identified with the extreme right wing.

    And you are right, people have been predicting OSTK would go down for years and years -- when it was at $45, at $35, at $20, at $15, $10, $8 and now $5.

    Yes you have hit the nail on the head. If only they had made fewer bad decisions and more good ones.  It could be all they need to exit of the death spiral is better judgment.  Firing themselves and hiring better might prove the point.


    O.co was an obvious bad move that had to be reversed - it was well documented that customers couldn't find the new site as they typed "o.com". The rest is bitter speculation.

    The stock was about 6 in Apr 2009 and back up to 23 as of May 2011. So much for your predictions. Some day I will die. Tomorrow? Or 40 years? Doesn't matter, I'll be right when I do.

    Also, stock price is not always a level indicator - Gary Weiss continues to hammer Overstock from SeekingAlpha because of their grudge match, not because of actual conditions. (He goes on at great length about the libel suit in Canada - which is only about place of venue, not about merits of the case - and the guy filing a false claim with the court to take down DeepCapture. Weiss is simply into schadenfreude with Overstock)

    Nonetheless, customer satisfaction with Overstock is very low for on-line retailers, much more important than what Byrne gave to Swift Boats, did with Google, filed against Goldman Sachs.

    (And Weiss had great joy in the California suit being dismissed, but the reason was that the violating short selling behavior was carried out primarily in NJ & NY, even though it was California's Bank of America trading on the Pacific Stock Exchange that they were pointing at. This suit is not over, nor is it a bad one, though at the end of the day it'll just be a small writeoff for Goldman Sachs underneath a ton of profit)

    Oh yes, paying $7 million to call Oakland Coliseum "o.co-liseum" or whatever, has obvious repercussions on the bottom line where the loss is only $13 mill of $1 billion in revenues.

    So, I repeat - the o.co fiasco kept Overstock from posting it's 3rd straight year of profit, all the kibbutzing aside. However, replacing Byrne and focusing on customer satisfaction would probably be a good strategy, simply because it makes an easier comeback story to sell than watching Byrne mach IV. It's obvious no one cares about illegal naked short selling, just as they don't care about indefinite detentions in Gitmo and Bagram. It's so 5 minutes ago.

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