Italy's biggest bank accidentally leaked its own earnings

Top PR nightmares: What went wrong
Top PR nightmares: What went wrong

Italy's biggest bank just had a major "oops" moment.

Unicredit (UNCFF) was forced to publish its third quarter earnings two weeks earlier than planned on Tuesday after it accidentally emailed key data to shareholders.

The bank said in a statement that a table containing historical financial results was mistakenly uploaded to its website late Monday. The problem: It included two columns of data that were not meant to be published until November 9.

Unicredit said it "promptly removed the two columns in the table" when the error was discovered. But the information had already been e-mailed to investors and analysts.

The bank's board was then called in to review the full results, which were published before the Milan stock market opened on Tuesday.

Related: Italy gets Google to pay $335 million in tax arrears

Esther Castro, an analyst at Banco Sabadell, was one of those who received the email. She said investors would have been surprised by the early release, but not too angry with the bank.

"It is very rare," she said. "We all work in this industry, with a lot of stress, many things happen every minute ... so we perfectly understand that a mistake is a mistake. It is not the end of the world."

She said the results were fairly positive and showed the bank had made good progress in reducing costs.

"At the end of the day, this is what the investors want to hear," she added. Shares were trading 1.6% higher on Tuesday.

Related: Italy is pouring billions into its troubled banks

Unicredit is not the first company to suffer the embarrassment of a premature earnings release.

Google published its quarterly earnings a few hours early in 2012. That release was peppered by placeholder language like "PENDING LARRY QUOTE."

In 2015, Twitter's (TWTR) results came out earlier than expected after someone on leaked them -- on Twitter.

Microsoft (MSFT) also had its earnings leaked early in 2011.

In 2010, a reporter correctly guessed the address of the website on which Disney (DIS) results were going to be published.

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