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Twitter shares soar on phony Bloomberg story

5 Stunning stats about Twitter

Twitter is flying high — but for all the wrong reasons.

Shares of Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) popped more than 8% on Tuesday following the circulation of a fake Bloomberg News story indicating the struggling social media platform had received a $ 31 billion buyout offer.

At first glance, the story looked legit. It appeared on a website that looked awfully like Bloomberg’s, linked out to other Bloomberg sites and even carried the byline of a real Bloomberg reporter.

However, a closer look reveals it’s a hoax. Its URL started with Bloomberg.market instead of Bloomberg.com. The article also misspelled the name of Dick Costolo, the former Twitter CEO who recently stepped down amid the company’s struggles.

A Bloomberg spokesman confirmed to CNNMoney the story was “fake and appeared on a bogus website” not affiliated with the news service.

Twitter Bloomberg fake story

Still, buzz about a takeover was believable enough to spike Twitter’s stock. It jumped as high as $ 38.82 shortly before noon ET on Tuesday. After a Bloomberg spokesman sent out a message (ironically, on Twitter) saying the story was bogus, Twitter shares retreated. In recent action the stock was up 3% to $ 36.95.

Talk of a Twitter buyout is nothing new. The company’s struggles have led to ample speculation that it could be acquired by a larger, cash-rich rival like Google (GOOGL, Tech30) or Facebook (FB, Tech30).

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It’s not clear yet who may have carried out the Twitter hoax. The fake Bloomberg site is registered to a P.O. Box listed in Panama, according to domain search site WHOis.net.

The Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment to CNNMoney whether it was aware or investigating the Twitter incident.

It’s not the first time bogus buyout rumors have sent a stock soaring recently. In May Avon (AVP) shares surged as much as 20% after an entity calling itself PTG Capital filed a letter with the SEC claiming it wanted to buy Avon for triple its share price at the time. The filing, which also had typos in it, turned out to be a hoax and Avon shares retreated.

Last month the SEC filed a complaint against two investment firms, two fake companies and one Bulgarian man for manipulating stock prices in the Avon hoax.

One trader joked about a future buyout target for Avon, whose ticker symbol is “AVP.”

“Any truth to the rumor that $ AVP is buying $ TWTR for 72/share?” user GreatStockPix wrote on StockTwits.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo stepping down

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