A deal announced prematurely

Office deal

The deal between OfficeMax and Office Depot was announced earlier than expected on Wednesday, giving business journalists a head start, reports Michael de la Merced of The New York Times.

De la Merced writes, “While the deal has been years in the making, it was initially announced prematurely. A news release announcing the merger of the companies was posted on Office Depot’s Web site early on Wednesday morning, but it quickly disappeared.

“Several news organizations reported the terms disclosed in the errant news release for Office Depot’s earnings. The details were buried on page four of the release, under the header ‘Other Matters.’

“As the details filtered through the market, shares of the companies jumped. In premarket trading, Office Depot’s stock rose more than 7 percent, while OfficeMax shares were up more than 8 percent.

“In a call with analysts, Mr. Austrian said that Office Depot’s Webcast provider ‘inadvertently’ published his company’s fourth-quarter earnings ‘well ahead of schedule.’

“The episode is reminiscent of other times that companies’ earnings releases were published prematurely. Last fall, Google‘s third-quarter earnings were published three hours early, which the technology giant blamed on a mistake by R.R. Donnelley & Sons, the company’s printer.

“Representatives for Office Depot and OfficeMax were not immediately available for comment on the erroneous release.”

Read more here.