Due to the nature of this blog, I have a vested interest in discussing yesterday’s RR Donnelley and Google affair. To be clear, RR Donnelley is a competitor and I want all their clients to switch to us. In fact, I want everyone to use PR Newswire and Vintage Filings.
Now that’s cleared up, let’s talk about IR and compliance.
Yesterday’s pre-release of Google’s earnings numbers had the media, industry and pundits in a tizzy. StockTwits’ $GOOG and $RRD feed was blazing with blame and snark. CNBC was giddy with experts. Ouch. From an investor relations and compliance officer perspective, this is the stuff of nightmares.
The disclosure/compliance product points that come to mind: control and content
Google passed on control of their draft SEC file, assumingly to give RRD time to correctly format the financial tables. Replacing the “PENDING LARRY QUOTE” text would be a simple cut-n-paste of the real content once closer to the final submission.
Controlling one’s own “SEC destiny” is a very current topic in this blog, birthed from the recent release of our new fleXBRL Program.
Bottom-line for companies: if they wish, control (workflow) over their SEC filings can remain with the company right up to the final “Submit” by the company’s internal team. That is a real boon for XBRL and can be for straight-up EDGAR as well.
Google has taken steps to control their content. As written up in IR Magazine yesterday, Google practices “web disclosure,” which simply means Google does not use a newswire service to disclose their material news. In line with RegFD, they are their own recognized distribution channel. That can work for you when you are $200B+ market cap and 85% institutionally held. Being omnipresent as Google helps here too.
That brings us to the moneyball question: can a newswire prevent yesterday’s gaffe from happening again? Not at all… if the 8-K file is sent separately to an independent EDGAR filer. It would be moot to have the earnings release edited and scheduled correctly with a newswire service if the 8-K is pre-released by an independent EDGAR shop. Additionally, this model means the IRO must simultaneously control two vendors and their disparate filing processes. On earnings day.
Being a company man, I’d like to think our integrated PR and SEC workflow would have prevented this very uncomfortable pre-release. The earning announcement would have had to 1.) get through our extremely attentive press release editors and then 2.) passed onto our 8-K filing desk for their expert review. Single vendor workflow (control) with dual editorial processes.
(That’s the sales pitch, BTW, regarding the value Vintage Filings adds to our newswire disclosure.)
The take away: Control your SEC processes. Streamline your disclosure paths. More eyeballs reviewing content is smart.
Have a great day.