Friday, October 19, 2012

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) blames Donnelley for earnings mix-up

Being process-driven is supposed to lead to an efficient way of conducting business. But sometimes, too much reliance on processes, especially when it goes wrong, can lead to irreparable errors, as Google Inc(NASDAQ:GOOG)  found out on Thursday to its cost.

On Thursday, a glitch in the processes of R.R.Donnelley, that handles the securities filings of major corporates in the United States including Google, resulted in the Internet search giant’s quarterly earnings being mistakenly released ahead of schedule sending its shares down by more than 10 percent.

Worse, the earnings were not in line with expectations and in fact were much below what the Street had estimated.

According to various reports the company, lost about $26 billion off its market capitalisation.

The Street knew a mistake had been made when the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission carried a line "pending Larry Quote" proving that it was a draft document that had been filed.

Google issued a statement blaming Donnelley, which did not respond to that but told CNBC that it was investigating the "circumstances of the release."

Shares in Donnelley also fell 5 percent after the news of the error spread, but it recovered during the day.

According information with SECInfo.com R R Donnelley, which provides printing services, also acts as a filing agent for a number of corporates and this year has handled about 75,000 submissions without a hitch.

Filing agents like Donnelley take paper documents and convert them for submission to the SEC in the appropriate format. The company also owns the filing portal EDGAR Online.

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