Peregrine Systems (PRGN) thinks it has cornered a singing canary.
In response to a story in
an apparent leak of insider financial information at the software firm, Peregrine says "the appropriate authorities" have identified someone they believe "may have improperly obtained the Company's property."
Hinting of an impending arrest, the software company says in a statement that it considers this "a matter for the law enforcement authorities."
published the contents of a
suspicious posting about the company that had appeared on the Yahoo! Finance message board on Jan. 2, six hours before Peregrine announced a revenue shortfall that sent its stock reeling. The story reported that the message-board posting -- deleted by
sometime after it was posted -- contained details about the extent of the shortfall that proved remarkably accurate. Many of its details matched up almost precisely with the ones the company provided in an official release about preliminary results for the third fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31.
Peregrine's stock plunged from $14.51 to $9.27 on Jan. 3, the first day of trading after the preannouncement.
Boardman of Alcatraz?
Judging by that posting, says the company, "it appears to Peregrine that a poster had improper access to Company property and confidential company information." The company says it has worked with the appropriate authorities, whom it did not specify, over the past several days to identify the suspect. "The company now believes it has put an end to this poster's misuse of its property."
In addition to information about the financial shortfall, the posting at issue contains a statement attributed to Peregrine CEO Steve Gardner indicating that the 4,000-person company expects to cut its head count by an an additional 400 to 500 employees beyond the 800 let go over the past year, and that Peregrine may have to make additional cuts "as the economy slows." At the time of the company's preannouncement, Gardner was reported as saying cuts were likely in certain areas of the company, but he did not elaborate further.
On Friday, a company spokeswoman said the section of the Yahoo! posting concerning personnel plans contained inaccuracies, but she declined to specify what those inaccuracies were.
Peregrine closed at $9.40 Friday, down 48 cents.