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Rating:An April Fool's Day Joke Leaves SSgA Unamused Not Rated 4.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Wednesday, April 01, 2009

An April Fool's Day Joke Leaves SSgA Unamused

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

Fundsters who look up "iShares" on Google News could see this eye-popping headline from IndexUniverse.com as one of the search results: "SSgA Announces Historic $7 Billion Deal to Buy iShares."

What's that? Wasn't it only yesterday that Barclays confirmed that private equity firm CVC Capital Partners was the preferred bidder for iShares? True, but it's also true that today is April Fool's Day, and the blog post, by IndexUniverse publisher Jim Wiandt, is IndexUniverse's idea of celebrating it.

The blog post hit the Web this morning, but is no longer on the IndexUniverse site.

Wiandt, who is currently in London, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The five-paragraph article opened with:
In a dazzling turn of events that made the FT, IndexUniverse.com's Matt Hougan and many others pawns in a brilliant smoke-and-mirrors act, with most industry observers believing that private equity firm CVC Capital had made a successful bid to buy the iShares unit, the SSgA deal was made public in London this morning.
The blog post ended with a sentence urging readers to look for more information about the deal "sometime after the April 1 holiday."

Clicking on the headline from the Google News results page now yields an error message - "404 - Article #5641 not found." The IndexUniverse blog was picked up by Seeking Alpha, which in turn used the headline, "In Surprise Turn, SSgA Announces $7 Billion Deal to Buy iShares," according to the Google News results page. Clicking on that link leads to a "Sorry, the page you were looking for was not found" message.

SSgA spokeswoman Arlene Roberts said the content of the blog post is not true and declined further comment on the prank. A Barclays spokesman was not immediately available for comment.  

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