Tweet on Altera-Intel talks came after options trades

The sign hanging outside the Intel booth is seen at the International Consumer Electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 6, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A March 27 tweet sent the same minute as news broke that chipmaker Intel Corp was in talks to buy Altera Corp appeared to come after very timely trades in Altera’s options by several seconds, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The tweet by Wall Street Journal reporter Dana Mattioli, sent the same minute as the headlines, led to speculation that it may have spurred the timely options trades. The tweet, however, was sent 19 seconds after the initial options trades.

On March 27, short-term call options conveying the right to buy Altera shares at $36 and $37 traded in unusually heavy volume at 3:32:39 p.m. EDT, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The trades occurred a second after headlines on the possible deal appeared on Dow Jones Newswires, and before Altera’s shares were halted.

“It is our policy to publish news before sharing via social media,” said Colleen Schwartz, a spokeswoman for Dow Jones, which publishes the Wall Street Journal.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; editing by Andrew Hay