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Google Inc filing error shocks investors,exposes process

RR Donnelley & Sons Co handles thousands of securities filings a year for corporate clients in a routine process that is invisible to most investors

Written by Reuters | San Francisco/new York | Published: October 20, 2012 1:00 am

RR Donnelley & Sons Co handles thousands of securities filings a year for corporate clients in a routine process that is invisible to most investors. On Thursday Google and its shareholders found out just what happens when that process goes wrong.

Google issued a statement blaming Donnelley,its filing agent,after the company’s quarterly results were released by the US Securities and Exchange Commission hours ahead of schedule. Earnings were far less than analysts expected and Google shares immediately plunged as much as 10.5 per cent,knocking $26 billion off its market capitalisation – the equivalent,as it happens,of about 13 RR Donnelleys.

It was quickly obvious that a mistake had been made — the second paragraph of the filing said “PENDING LARRY QUOTE” instead of an actual quote from Google CEO Larry Page — but it was not clear why. Within minutes,though,an unknown prankster set up a “PendingLarry” Twitter feed to hypothesise what the missing quote might be. Among the highlights: “Man,our privacy was WAY violated today.”

Donnelley issued a statement to CNBC in which it said it was investigating the circumstances of the release.

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