Shares in the beleaguered insurance claims processor Quindell have been on a see-saw for the last couple of days after a false report that George Soros had taken a 5% stake in the firm. Quindell began its wild ride Tuesday morning when share ownership data came from FactSet Research Systems was published that showed Soros Fund with a 5.1% stake in Quindell.
Boom! Shares of Quindell went on a run and ended up 14% by the end of the trading session Tuesday.
However, according to a blog in the Wall Street Journal, it turns out the FactSet ownership figure was wrong. Late Wednesday afternoon London time Quindell’s list of shareholders was mysteriously updated on FactSet’s database, and now it shows Soros Fund Management holds only 1% of Quindell shares.
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Oops! Not surprisingly given the news, Quindell’s shares shares dropped back around 8.1% on Wednesday to close at 105.25 pence.
Spokespersons for both Soros Fund Management and Quindell refused to comment.
Background on Quindell
Quindell had a very rough 2014. The large insurance processor is one of the most well-known stocks on AIM (London’s secondary exchange), but the firm lost 90% of its market value last year as short sellers attacked the business model, cash generation fell short, and several directors engaged in what some described sd “complex, controversial accounting deals” – all of which created negative publicity.
However, shares in downtrodden companies can often get a boost when an big-name investor buys a stake in a firm. Quindell is a perfect example as the stock has more than doubled since January 7, when, as reported in ValueWalk, it disclosed that hedge fund Toscafund was accumulating a significant stake,.
Statement from FactSet
FactSet issued a brief statement on the matter. “Our PR team is looking into the issue,” said John Butters, vice-president and senior earnings analyst at FactSet, who said he couldn’t comment further.
Financial industry analysts say its also possible that regulators will be questioning the firm regarding the incident.