A fake news story goosed Twitter’s stock, falsely reporting that the company had received a $31 billion takeover bid.
A site fabricated to look like Bloomberg Business posted an article late Tuesday morning saying Twitter “is working closely with bankers” after receiving the bid.
But the hoax was exposed quickly, with a check of the site’s domain name revealing that it had been created less than four days ago.
Meanwhile, some traders cited suspicious trading in Twitter options.
“It’s not a hack” of Bloomberg’s Web site, Bloomberg spokesman Ty Trippet emphasized. “It was just a bogus Web site that looks like us.”
Twitter shares spiked as much as 7.7 percent to trade at $38.54 after the report appeared. In early afternoon trades, they were still up more than 3 percent from the previous day’s close.
Shortly after the phony Twitter report was posted, sharp-eyed traders saw reasons to be suspicious. Apart from numerous typos and odd style choices, the story referred to Twitter’s former CEO Dick Costolo as “Richard ‘Dick’ Costello.” Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement.
The hoax tapped into feverish speculation of late that Twitter might get acquired.
Last week at Allen & Co.’s annual media conference in Sun Valley, Twitter Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto told The Post that the company hasn’t hired an investment bank to explore a sale.
Tuesday’s hoax echoes a similar one two months earlier in May, when a phony press release claimed that Avon had received a rich takeover bid from a firm called PTG Capital.
The Avon hoax, which briefly sent the cosmetics firm’s shares soaring 20 percent, was the work of a Bulgarian trader, the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged.