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Jennifer Karp

Overstock.com hints at big announcements to come

Salt Lake City – During an earnings conference call this morning, Patrick Byrne, Overstock.com ceo, said the company has two major announcements to reveal soon, but would only provide a minimum of clues.

The company will make a big announcement on May 5 to its partners regarding a major, pricey tech project, Byrne said. Another announcement is coming at the end of the second quarter, he said.

This is a company known for some surprising moves. It startled the retail world in December by announcing it was accepting Bitcoin, a little understood online currency, for its purchases. And last month, the company launched a national pet adoption program. Animal shelters, Byrne said, “are in the overstock business as well.” The move has generated more customers for the online retailer as a result, he said.

In addition, the company is now in the insurance business, offering home, car and small business insurance, with more carriers to come.

He also commented on his recent decision to step down as chairman. “It is better for me to reduce my workload. It’s not a good idea to be a chairman and ceo,” he said, noting Jonathan Johnson, who stepped into the chairman position, “has been a shadow chairman for several years now.”

Revenue for the first quarter 2014 was $341.2 million compared to $312 million, an increase of 9%. The company attributed the growth in revenue to an increase of 8% in average order size, from $153 to $165, coupled with a 5% increase in orders. Net income was $4 million vs. $7.7 million, $3.7 million decrease. The company has experienced increases in its sales and marketing and technology expenses.

The company has agreements to purchase land in Salt Lake City to develop or lease its future headquarters.

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