In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Morgan Stanley has revealed it owns a large passive stake in online retailer Overstock.com. News of the company being gobbled up by the legacy bank caused the bitcoin-friendly outfit’s stock price to rise sharply for the third time this quarter.
Overstock Shares Jump 22% on Morgan Stanley News
And so it begins. Legacy bank Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), which celebrated its 82nd year of business this Fall, purchased 11.4 percent of Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK), an online retailer around for a quarter of MS’s tenure.
Back in 2014 Overstock became the first major retailer to accept bitcoin.
In accordance with SEC regulations, Morgan Stanley filed a 13G, an eight-page document detailing the purchase. Of interest in the filing were the facts MS made the purchase November 30, and that it owned close to 3 million shares, a little more than 11 percent of the company.
Shares of Overstock have grown roughly 200 percent this year alone, and mostly on the company’s embracing bitcoin and blockchain technology applications.
News released December 11 of MS’s purchase caused yet another rise in Overstock’s price, up some 20 percent in one trading day.
As of this writing, neither company has spoken with the press nor made any public statements.
From Retailer to Crypto Ambassador
It has been a good quarter for the online retailer. Back in October, news.Bitcoin.com reported an 11 percent jump in price, and in November its stock price did three times that in a single day after analysts praised its embrace of bitcoin and blockchain.
Certainly news of bitcoin being courted by mainstream futures and derivatives markets, Cboe and CME this month, haven’t hurt Overstock’s pivot away from e-commerce and more toward tech. It’s also set to launch an initial coin offering in roughly a week as a distributed ledger platform for capital markets.
As a retailer, Overstock’s performance, ironically, has left a lot to be desired. According to The Motley Fool, “The company posted a net loss of $11 million over the trailing-12-month period, and has lost money on an operating basis in four of the past 10 years. Its operating margins hover around 1% in its best years.”
It appears investors see it less as an online storefront and more as a potential cryptocurrency/blockchain company of some kind. Also, Overstock is known to hold back its bitcoin in order to invest in cryptocurrency related projects, though it hasn’t said exactly how much it has on hand.
What are your thoughts on Overstock.com? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, Mises Institute.
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Author: C. Edward Kelso