Patrick Byrne is reportedly trying to sell Overstock.com Inc. and get out of online retailing altogether.
The CEO and founder of Overstock.com, No. 30 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, told CNBC in an interview Wednesday that he’s hoping to sell the e-commerce portion of his company by no later than March. Byrne wants to sell Overstock is so that he can invest more of his resources and energy into his blockchain technology business, according to the CNBC report.
Overstock.com senior vice president of analytics and chief of staff to the CEO Seth Moore confirmed that Overstock.com is for sale in an interview on Thursday evening. Moore says the company is targeting primarily brick and mortar retailers or private equity firms that own brick and mortar retailers for a possible sale. Moore cites Overstock.com’s e-commerce platform and its marketplace as being key selling points.
“Our platform is a lot faster and a lot easier to use than what a lot of the brick and mortar retailers are using now,” he says. “We also have a more advanced marketplace and a marketplace supply chain that a lot of people are trying to get into but they’re a decade late to the game.” Moore says that if and when Overstock.com is sold, which he says realistically could happen within the next 90 days, current Overstock.com employees will be part of the deal.
Blockchain, best known as the technology behind the digital currency Bitcoin, is a form of maintaining internet-based ledgers of data such as customer records and commerce transactions. Byrne and his team launched an investment firm called Medici Ventures in 2014 to focus on investing in and building out technology that leverages blockchain.
Byrne, who co-f0unded Overstock in 1999, told CNBC he could potentially sell Overstock.com to another retailer or take the business private. During the retailer’s third quarter earnings call in early November, Byrne hinted that he was open to the idea of selling Overstock.com.
“One of the options is splitting off that top layer, the commerce layer, selling just that to the brick-and-mortar [retailer] and creating lots and lots of capital to pursue all the blockchain stuff,” he said, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.
Overstock ranked as the 11th largest mass merchant in the 2017 Internet Retailer Top 500, which ranks North American retailers by their online sales, generating $1.8 billion in sales last year, up 8.6% from $1.658 billion in 2015. Overstock reported in November that it has generated $1.288 billion in revenue through the first nine months of its fiscal 2017, up 1.1% from $1.274 billion during the same time last year.