Tuesday, December 04, 2007

They Don't Call Patrick Byrne 'America's Worst CEO' For Nothing

Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne reemerged on the Investor Village message board today after an absence of some weeks, to discuss a subject that is obsessing him day and night.

Now, before you peek at the link, see if you can guess what it is from the following choices:

1. His company's struggle to avoid bankruptcy;
2. His company's recent share price free-fall;
3. The SEC investigation of his company and himself;
4. Wikipedia.

The answer is, of course, No. 4.

Responding to a puzzled query in the Motley Fool message board, analyst Seth Jayson commented: "It proves Patrick is still a conspiracy theorist who believes that anyone who doesn't agree with him is plotting against him: investors, message board posters, wikipedia, whatever. And he is simply unable to leave it alone."

I think the reason he's off in la-la land has to do with the nagging issues surrounding Overstock's accounting, as recently highlighted in Sam Antar's blog. EBITDA and Regulation G are dense stuff, but they could prove difficult in the days ahead, as Tracy Coenen explains.

If you're the CEO of a company that has used questionable accounting, and is struggling to survive, wouldn't you focus on the Sith Lord, or school vouchers, or Wikipedia?

Hey, they don't call him "the worst CEO in America" for nothing.

© 2007 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its Amazon.com listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site, gary-weiss.com.

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