Here's what happened: Twitter, the hot social networking platform, will soon be listed on the public exchanges with the stock symbol TWTR. Novice investors, eager to take part in the IPO, came upon the defunct stock for Tweeter Home Entertainment Group, which is listed under the symbol TWTRQ. The firm went out of business in 2008 and has been "trading" for a single penny.
Within a few hours more than 14 million shares had changed hands and Tweeter's stock had "soared" to 15 cents per share -- a 1,500% return for anyone who got in early in the morning. Officials stepped in and suspended trading of the security around lunchtime, when the price had fallen back to 5 cents per share.
Tweeter was a specialty consumer electronics retailer, much like Circuit City. The company was born in the 1970s in New England and grew via acquisitions of several other chains, including the Florida-based Sound Advice. At its peak, Tweeter boasted more than 100 stores in 18 states. Then the recession hit hard. In early 2007, Tweeter closed all of their California outlets and most stores in the southeastern United States.
Tweeter filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in 2007 and again in 2008. Eventually unable to work out a deal with creditors, the company shuttered all remaining stores on December 3, 2008.
Like many publicly traded companies that are forced to liquidate, Tweeter left behind an empty shell corporation with a lot of angry creditors and messy paperwork.
For those looking to invest in Twitter, the actual IPO won't take place until early November and the price tag will certainly be higher than $0.01 per share.