Bloomberg News Exploits Disney’s ‘Dumbo’ Move

Somewhere deep inside the IT department at Walt Disney Studios, there is no doubt a lingering sense of embarrassment over the way a reporter at Bloomberg News in New York was able to sniff out the company’s third quarter earnings on November 11th ahead of NYSE close.

AP Technology reporter Jordan Robertson has the juicy details, starting with an apt movie reference:

The Walt Disney Co.’s early release of its earnings report this month came down to a Dumbo move: The company made the information accessible through an easy-to-guess Web address.

Disney didn’t plan on posting the link on its website until after the market closed. But a reporter at Bloomberg News found it with simple Internet sleuthing and reported results about a half-hour before the scheduled release, according to a person familiar with Bloomberg’s practices. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Apparently, Bloomberg subsequently used the same web-sniffing trick to grab data about NetApp Inc. earnings. Though both companies have since recovered, share prices in the wake of Bloomberg snooping dropped by 5% for Disney and 9% for NetApp. To borrow a further Dumbo dialogue reference: ‘Stupendous, I calls it.’