Google had to suspend trading on Nasdaq last night after it accidentally published its poor Q3 financial year results on the Securities and Exchange Commission's website in the US.
To make matters worse, the press release announcing that earnings were dramatically down year-on-year was published with the strap "Pending Larry Quote" at the very top, suggesting that it hadn't yet been finalised or approved.
The market wasn't impressed, with Google's share price plummeting by around $70 (£43) a share as a result, and the software giant decided to suspend trading until it managed to rectify the error. It was an error that could have cost the company many millions.
Many outside of the company saw the funny side, however, with "Pending Larry" becoming a Twitter meme, and a scathing @pendinglarry account set up immediately.
Google released a statement some time after, blaming financial printer RR Donnelley.
"Earlier this morning RR Donnelley, the financial printer, informed us that they had filed our draft 8K earnings statement without authorisation," Google said.
"We have ceased trading on Nasdaq while we work to finalise the document. Once it’s finalised we will release our earnings, resume trading on Nasdaq and hold our earnings call as normal at 1:30pm PT."
RR Donnelley responded, saying that it would launch an investigation into why the release was posted without authorisation: "We are fully engaged in an investigation to determine how this event took place and are pursuing our first obligation – which is to serve our valued customer."
The actual report, which was eventually delivered for real after the gaff, revealed that Google's earnings for financial year Q3 were $2.74 billion (£1.7 billion), down from $3.06 billion (£1.9 billion) year-on-year. That equated to earnings of $9.03 (£5.62) a share, less than analysts' predictions of $10.65 (£6.63) per share.
Some are partly blaming the acquisition of Motorola for the company's poor results, with Google's new hardware arm recording an operating loss of $151 million (£94 million).
In brighter news, Google did manage to announce the launch of the new Samsung Chromebook. Although it didn't manage to steal the headlines as much as the company planned, no doubt.
Oh, and Larry's eventual quote? "We had a strong quarter," he said. Ahem...
Original pic: (cc) niallkennedy
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