Says Erroneous Online Report To Blame
ANN REALTIME REPORTING 09.08.08 1530
EDT: The reposting of a six-year-old news report was to
blame Monday for panic among investors in UAL Corp., parent company
of United Airlines... who dumped their shares in the troubled
carrier, believing UAL had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the
second time in six years.
The run on United shares began Monday morning, when the South
Florida Sun-Sentinel posted a 2002 Chicago Tribune story about
United's original Chapter 11 filing on its Web site. That story
was, in turn, picked up by Income Securities Advisors Inc... which
then redistributed it on the Bloomberg wire network.
Bloomberg picked up the story, but quickly pulled the article
when United vehemently asserted it had not, in fact, filed for
"United has demanded a retraction from the Sun-Sentinel and is
launching an investigation," the airline said in a terse release.
"United continues to execute its previously announced business plan
to successfully navigate through an environment marked by volatile
fuel prices and continues to have strong liquidity."
United spokeswoman Jean Medina had no further comment.
The Tribune Co, which owns both the Chicago Tribune and the
Sun-Sentinel, also took pains to clarify the situation.
"We have been informed that a 2002 Chicago Tribune news report
about United Airlines' financial condition was picked up and
circulated on the Internet Monday morning," Chicago-based Tribune
said in a statement. "The story is not current. We are looking into
Income Securities president Richard Lehmann said his company ran
the story after doing a routine search for news items related to
bankruptcy filings. "The story was dated Sept. 8, 2008," Lehmann
said Monday. "There was nothing in the story to indicate it was
really a 6-year-old story."
Shares in United mostly rebounded following a 90-minute halt in
trading, after falling some 76 percent to a low of almost $3. By
midday, stock was down $1.12, or 9.2 percent, to $11.18.