In a long-anticipated move, Overstock expects to sell its e-commerce business by February, the company's CEO Patrick Byrne recently told The Wall Street Journal.
A sale of the business, which Bryne has been planning for at least a year, will allow the company to focus on another business unit that has been funding and developing startups pursuing blockchain technology, he told the Journal. Byrne did not disclose any prospective buyers for the company’s e-commerce unit.
The company’s Medici blockchain business has invested in several smaller companies working with the technology, including tZero, which reportedly is developing an online system for trading security tokens, and Voatz, which would allow consumers to vote in elections via a blockchain-based smartphone app.
Byrne's next step – the sale of his company’s long-standing e-commerce business – appears to be imminent.
"Appears" is a key word there because Byrne has not revealed details about the coming deal, only a timetable for when he expects it to close. Overstock has been talking about selling ts retail operation for almost a year, with no deal yet. Last May, the company reminded the sector it was still seeking a sale, potentially to an established retailer, and had met with several prospective buyers. But similar to Byrne’s most recent statements, no further details were offered.
Meanwhile, Overstock’s retail organization has been trying to go about its own business, launching a lease-to-own service in September for many of its products, and establishing a new warehouse to help it fulfill a two-day shipping pledge. Overstock also was notably the first major e-commerce operator to accept Bitcoin, reflecting its CEO’s interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain.
However, the company overall has seen its fortunes dive. It lost $163.7 million within the first nine months of the year, according to the Journal. And Medici’s investments haven’t helped, accounting for $39 million in losses over the same period.