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Freelance Journalist Sends Twitter Stock Soaring

By Peter York, Published: October 25th, 2016 6:54 PM CDT

Ben Harrington of M&A finance blog, Betaville, has a few followers on Twitter. So he used Twitter this afternoon to put out what he calls, a "RARE Alert."

He claims to have knowledge of an impending acqusition of Twitter by the Walt Disney (DIS) Company. Disney was reportedly interested in Twitter but backed away earlier this month, according to other reports. Harrington puts out this disclosure about his report:

"To be clear, this story is RARE! For readers unfamiliar with the RARE concept I will define it below.

Market gossip that hasn't been tested through formal journalistic channels (public relations executives, bankers etc). The rumour might be total codswallop but then again there may be something in it, so it's worth airing on Betaville."

Is the self-proclaimed "freelance journalist" giving himself room to spread an unsubstantiated rumor? Twitter stock jumped 5% in the after hours market with millions of dollars changing hands. A search of "RARE Alerts" on Betaville brought up other examples of these so-called "RARE Alerts" from Betaville. At least one of his stories seemed to have come true, inspiring this comment from Harrington in September 2015:

"Some of my competitors and market watchers like to claim I make these RARE stories up. But anyone who follows my work and knows me well understands that I'm extremely diligent about sourcing, so it's good to see a RARE story confirmed and prove my detractors wrong!"

Other RARE stories, such as a Microsoft acquisition of Blackberry in 2015, did not seem to bear fruit.

Related: TWTR

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