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August 18, 2005

Drinking the CEO Coolaid

It's not often that I write about finance and investing in this blog. However, this story is too bizarre, and too amusing, to pass up.

In a nut shell, Overstock.com CEO and founder Dr. Patrick M. Byrne appears to be having a very public meltdown in reaction to the large number of investors who have "sold short" Overstock's shares in anticipation of a sharp decline in its price. (In short-selling, investors borrow stock from their broker/dealer and sell it in the hope that they can buy it back later at a lower price and thereby profit from the stock's decline.)

I've briefly written about Overstock before, highlighting their sexy spokesbabe Sabine Ehrenfeld. But this is much more interesting.

Anyway, last week, Byrne hosted a web conference call announcing that Overstock had hired legendary tort-king John O'Quinn to sue short sellers and research firms that allegedly have been conspiring to manipulate the company's share price. His long, rambling monologue (transcript here | sign-in to listen to the call here) was more than a little bit wacky, full of references to "Sith Lords", tinfoil-lined hats, and an evil cabal of journalists, regulators and stock market operators who are working together to drive down his stock. (Click on the slide below to see what he was talking about.)

Web of connections

Needless to say, financially oriented bloggers like Jeff Matthews and Mark Cuban have been having a field day with this.

Personally, I've always been suspicious about anybody (other than Germans or people who practice medicine) who uses the title "Doctor" in everyday life.

Update

Bryne's ravings have earned him the coveted number one position on TheStreet.com's list of the five dumbest things on Wall Street this week.

August 18, 2005 at 07:01 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I missed Patrick's comments, but I can assure you he's said thing less appealing before. 'Old Faithful' wasn't the best line. I can understand his frustration with people trying to play games with his company's financial stability and I don't believe anyone that rants and raves under such circumstances would care about the presses scrutiny. The important thing to watch for is the outcome of his attempt to stop these scoundrels trying to cash in by using tactics that should have been outlawed by the SEC years ago!

Posted by: Jeff T | Sep 29, 2005 11:23:22 PM

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