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Bristol-Myers' Disappearing Penny: Case Is Now Closed

Thursday, 31 Jan 2008 | 2:42 PM ET
CNBC.com

I just got off the phone with the Chief Operating Officer of PR Newswire, Dave Armon, who says the discrepancy between the two Bristol-Myers Squibb earnings press releases I've been blogging about was due to an information technology glitch at PR Newswire.

He explains that PR Newswire provides a subscription service to companies, including Bristol, called "Media Room." Essentially PR Newswire hosts the press release portion of the company's web site, so that when news breaks it shows up on the site in real time. But until my blog today, Mr. Armon says PR Newswire had been unaware that its computer program automatically cuts off anything beyond five "sub-heads" on a press release.

PR Newswire can move hundreds of thousands of press releases a day during earnings season, but Mr. Armon says this is the first time--that he's aware of--that the system wiped out a sixth bullet point from a corporate press release in the "Media Room."

The sixth "sub-head" happened to be an important one about Bristol's earnings per share. The complete version, he says, did reach over a million equity terminals and several thousand websites. But the "corrupted" one appeared on Bristol's web site. PR Newswire says it's working to fix the I.T. snafu.

The case of the missing penny is now closed.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com

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