CHICAGO - United Airlines' stock fell more than 75 percent yesteday morning after a nearly 6-year-old Chicago Tribune news report was distributed via a market information site operated by Bloomberg L.P.
The stock, which had closed Friday at $12.30 a share, hit a low of $3 a share before the confusion was cleared up. The stock closed at $10.92, down $1.38 for the day.
After being alerted to the issue yesterday morning, the Chicago Tribune removed the story from its online archives, which are also accessed by other Tribune Co. newspapers. The South Florida Sun Sentinel's version of the story was the one that was cited by Bloomberg.
The original article, published Dec. 10, 2002, appeared the day after United Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and discussed the company's strategy for emerging from bankruptcy. However, the text of the story showed up in searches of the Sun Sentinel Web site yesterday.
In a statement yesterday morning, United said it has demanded a retraction from the Sun Sentinel.
A researcher for Income Securities, which posts stories about distressed debt securities directly to Bloomberg, became aware of the article early yesterday after searching for bankruptcy situations using the Google search engine. The Sun Sentinel article was the first article in a list of Google results, said Income Securities.
The Baltimore Sun is also a Tribune Co. newspaper.