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Twitter shares spike on fake Bloomberg story about $31bn takeover offer

Wall Street got all excited Wednesday when an apparent Bloomberg news report said Twitter was “working closely with bankers” after receiving a buyout offer worth $31 billion.

The company’s share value spiked almost 10 percent on the report as news outlets started speculating as to what it all meant for Twitter. And then the article was exposed as a hoax.

That’s right, it wasn’t a Bloomberg article at all, though it’d been made to look like one, with an official looking “www.bloomberg.market” web address and the page including links back to Bloomberg’s real “.com” website. With Twitter undergoing a major transition just now as the company struggles to build its business at a faster rate, it’s not difficult to see how some people could’ve been fooled by the piece.

After being notified of the bogus article, Ty Trippet, Bloomberg’s head of communications, hopped onto the microblogging site to say both the story and the website it appeared on were fake. The spike had lasted only 20 minutes, and as confirmation filtered through, Twitter’s share value fell back further, at the end of the day settling close to what it’d been before the whole thing kicked off.

It’s not clear at this stage who owns the domain, though it’s believed to have been registered in recent days “by an unnamed party listing a Panama mailing address,” according to NBC, which also reported Twitter’s assurance that there was no truth in the report.

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It’s of course possible that those who orchestrated the incident were looking to make a fast buck out of their actions. Indeed, a report from Bloomberg later on Tuesday (yes, a real, genuine report) revealed that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is considering investigating the incident as a case of market manipulation, indicating that we may not have heard the last of this particular tale.