May 17, 2019 / 1:50 PM / 2 days ago

CORRECTED-RPT-Overstock.com CEO hits back at shareholders over personal stock sale

(Corrects paragraph 1 to say shares plunged on Wednesday, not on Thursday)

May 17 (Reuters) - Overstock.com Inc Chief Executive Officer Patrick Byrne on Friday hit out at shareholders who questioned the sale of a portion of his stake in the company, after the online retailer’s shares plunged on Wednesday following the disclosure of his move.

Shares of the company that offers a range of lower-priced luxury goods, fell over 15% after a filing revealed Byrne, the largest shareholder in the company, had sold about 500,000 of his shares, or 9% of his stake.

Byrne said on Friday his stock sales had created “an unanticipated stir”.

“Not once have I ever asked a shareholder for his reasons in any decision he made. Yet, given the consternation this has caused, I will give answer, to preclude further recurrence of mass vapors,” Byrne said.

Byrne said the stake sale was to fund a variety of his projects including a blockchain investment and supplement his nominal salary of $100,000 annually. (Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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