Bloomberg LP terminals, widely used by traders to access real-time financial data, went down globally for a few hours Friday morning, disrupting a bond sale in the United Kingdom.
Service has largely been restored and the company said in a tweet that there was "no indication at this point that this is anything other than an internal network issue."
The terminals, also known as Bloomberg Professional, cost about $24,000 a year and are a staple at many large financial firms, which use them for analysis, trading securities and for its important messaging function, a key communications mode among traders and other financial professionals.
"Significant but not all parts of our system experienced a disruption today. There is no indication at this point that this is anything other than an internal network issue. We have restored service to most customers and are making progress in bringing all parts of the system back online. We apologize to our customers," the company said.
The company later said the systems were fully restored and that the cause was "a combination of hardware and software failures in the network, which caused an excessive volume of network traffic. This led to customer disconnections as a result of the machines being overwhelmed. We discovered the root cause quickly, isolated the faulty hardware, and restarted the software. We are reviewing our multiple redundant systems, which failed to prevent this disruption."
The outage is a huge black eye for the company, which offers an expensive information service but is known for its top-drawer customer service and, generally, its reliability.
While Bloomberg has been seeking to expand its other businesses, most visibly trying to raise the profile of its media business, terminal sales account for the overwhelming bulk of the New York company's revenue -- 85% as of 2014, while the media business still provides just a sliver. The company churns out staggering profit margins -- 30% in 2013 on revenue of $8.3 billion.
The rare technical problems also come at an awkward time, just six months after Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who founded the company in 1981, returned after months of speculation about his future plans, to take over the company again.
Lately, the company had been focused on its media expansion after recovering from a couple of embarrassing public stumbles in 2013. That year, the company was forced to launch on extensive internal review after clients, who are mostly big financial firms, complained that some of Bloomberg's news reporters may have misused confidential client data in their reporting. The review prompted an overhaul of company procedures separating the newsroom from the business side of the organization. The same year, the firm drew unwanted attention after competing news organizations reported that a lengthy investigation into public corruption charges was spiked at the behest of top editors. Allegations later surfaced that business concerns influenced the decision.