Overstock.com, Inc. (OSTK) Accused of Misleading Shareholders
According to the class action complaint for alleged violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, in May 2019, Overstock touted a return to profitability after an extended period of losing money and raised its year-end guidance by 50%. Meanwhile, Overstock launched its crypto currency project tZERO, which cost shareholders $100 million. Throughout the relevant period, Overstock issued a series of press releases and statements that promoted its transition to the crypto currency exchange service provider and the benefits it would provide investors. However, Overstock failed to disclose that tZERO had actually been designed to create a short squeeze by offering a digital token dividend that would not be registered and could not be resold for at least six months. Before the market learned of Overstock’s scheme, its CEO liquidated over $102 million of his own Overstock shares. Finally, on September 23, 2019, investors learned the SEC would not allow Overstock to issue locked-up crypto dividends and that the Company was unable to reach its guidance for fiscal year 2019. By the end of the class period, shares of Overstock.com were trading as low as $10.70, a decline of 60% from the class period high of $26.89.