UK postpones £3bn debt auction as Bloomberg outage keeps global investors in the dark

Reuters / Brendan McDermid
The UK Debt Management Office (DMO) was forced to put off an auction of short-dated Treasury bills, as Bloomberg terminals used by traders, investors and governments around the world suffered a two and a half hour outage Friday morning.

The UK DMO said the delay was due to the "ongoing technical issues with the third party platform supplier,” with an official saying it was “reasonable” to assume that the supplier was Bloomberg, the Financial Times said.

The DMO said that the sale would be conducted between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., London Time, and bids should be resubmitted. Previously submitted bids were deemed null and void.

The Bloomberg trading platform was out of service for two and a half hours, but was back to normal by about 11:00 a.m., London time.

A spokesperson for Bloomberg described the outage as"unprecedented"in scale."We're urgently looking into it,"the Financial Times cites the person as saying."It's being treated very seriously at the highest level."

The company said it was still investigating the cause of the outage, and declined to comment on whether it might have been hacked.

Bloomberg terminals fell at around 8.20 a.m. London time and by 9:10 a.m. London time Bloomberg said some customers had reported the terminals back online.

A lot of Bloomberg users took the outrage with good humor, saying the unexpected bonus of free time offered them the opportunity to relax and connect with their Facebook friends or enjoy their favorite computer games. Some joked that Greece should have defaulted during the blackout and no one would have known better.

While it may not have crashed the markets, the disruption is likely to cause concern over Bloomberg’s reliability. The terminals called Bloomberg Professional are a key tool in the everyday job of traders worldwide. They allow traders to monitor and analyze real-time financial data, and also execute trades. Bloomberg has more than 315,000 subscribers worldwide according to the company, CNBC reported. It has become the world's biggest financial information provider, overtaking rival Reuters.