If you had a quick trigger finger or a good stock broker, you might have been able to make a fast buck selling Twitter shares after news broke this morning that the company had received an offer to be purchased for a staggering $31 billion. The story held that Google as well as “an unnamed foreign buyer” were contending for the purchase.
Huge news if true, but alas, the story was a hoax. The article, purporting to be from Bloomberg, actually was posted to a hoax site set up to look like Bloomberg. But it fooled a lot of people and ended up causing Twitter’s share price to spike 3.1%, to $38.33, until both Twitter and Google confirmed it was fake. Here’s how that timeline looks:
Those who got fooled shouldn’t feel too bad about it. The pump was primed a few weeks back, when early Twitter investor Chris Sacca caused something of a stir by saying that Twitter would be an “instant fit” should it get acquired by Google. Further, the microblogging platform is rich in users but struggling toward profitability despite being highly valued, leading to the recent and very abrupt resignation of CEO Dick Costolo.
Fortunately, the situation didn’t do any damage to Twitter; once the story was confirmed fake, its share price declined only slightly, closing today just under a point below start of day, at $36.72. Still, the reaction demonstrates that investors would clearly love for Twitter to be bought up by Google. If only complex financial negotiations could be conducted in 140 characters or less.