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Overstock says SEC doesn’t plan to file complaint in probe

SHARE Overstock says SEC doesn’t plan to file complaint in probe

Overstock.com Inc., the online seller of excess inventory, said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission doesn't plan to file a complaint after completing a probe of the company and its officers.

SEC investigators conveyed their decision after Overstock cooperated with the two-year probe, the Salt Lake City-based company said Friday. Overstock disclosed the inquiry in 2006, saying the SEC was examining its accounting policies and its complaint against research company Gradient Analytics Inc.

Patrick Byrne, Overstock's chief executive officer, has accused hedge funds, analysts and financial journalists of spreading negative information about his company so that short sellers can profit from a drop in its stock. Gradient, whose reports questioned Overstock's accounting, has denied the claims, saying they were aimed at harassing critics.

"Yipikaye," Byrne said in a statement Friday announcing the SEC's decision. "This inquiry was initiated, and persisted, because of false allegations made by a cohesive group of short sellers and a few financial journalists who dutifully serve them."" He didn't name them.

The SEC ended a related probe of Gradient, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., last year and also declined to take action, the research company said at the time.