Google‘s stock shares went into a free fall on Thursday after a printing company released a premature press release that was not authorized by the company.
Shares in the company, one of the world’s largest, were suspended after the email was accidentally released to the US stock market authorities, reports The Herald Sun.
The email showed that the company’s latest quarterly earnings were far below the demanding expectations of Wall Street.
The premature press release was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and began with the words “PENDING LARRY QUOTE,” most likely a reference to the company’s CEO Larry Page, whose task is normally to put the best gloss on the financial figures.
The error by the financial printing company triggered a mass sell-off of Google’s shares, causing the company’s net worth to plunge by 10 percent in just eight minutes before trading was suspended and weighed on the broader Nasdaq Stock Market. The company’s stock resumed trading and ended the day down eight percent.
Bloomberg Business Week notes that Google later issued a blog statement that blamed R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company for the early release. The Google statement read:
“Earlier this morning R.R. Donnelley, the financial printer, informed us that they had filed our draft 8-K earnings statement without authorization.”
CEO of R.R. Donnelley Tom Quinlan stated during an interview that the company is investigating what happened, but that the premature Google press release appeared to be caused by human error and not a systems problem. Quinlan added, “It is not common in our world. If it was common for us, we wouldn’t be in the business.”
Google later issued an official press release that showed the quarterly results. The only discernible difference in the text was a statement by Page, which said, “We had a strong quarter. Revenue was up 45 per cent year-on-year, and, at just 14 years old, we cleared our first $US14 billion revenue quarter.”