October 18th was not an ‘I feel lucky’ day for Google!
Its shares were suspended for two-and-a-half hours after its third-quarter results were made public a couple of hours early by mistake.
What’s more, it wiped 8% off the value of the company at a stroke. Google blamed financial printing firm RR Donnelley for filing an early draft of the results, which had been expected after the closing bell. This had been done without Google’s authorization and with gaps for missing quotes from Larry himself.
Now the results were below expectations with strong revenue growth but some one-off costs relating to their acquisition of Motorola Mobility holding back profits. But what clearly spooked investors was the uncontrolled release of the results which meant Google didn’t have the opportunity for the typical earnings and briefing calls where they could have explained the context behind the figures and managed analysts’ expectations. They just hit the street for everyone to draw their own conclusions.
Investors really don’t like surprises even if it’s only results being released 3 hours early and surely Google can do better. One way would be to examine the benefits of implementing a disclosure management solution such as SAP Disclosure Management.
Doing this, Google would not only achieve a faster, more accurate financial close, it would also give them a flexible, collaborative disclosure process across geographies, systems, data sources and teams (including their external printer) that would improve compliance and minimise the risk of any similar hiccups in the future.
So this is what I would be entering into the browser today Larry;