Identity Mixup With Visa Target Spurs 10% Jump in Japan Startup

A pedestrian wearing a protective mask is reflected in an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. Asian stocks climbed to a new record, as technology shares remained strong in the first session of 2021. Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg
A pedestrian wearing a protective mask is reflected in an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. Asian stocks climbed to a new record, as technology shares remained strong in the first session of 2021. Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Japanese startup Plaid Inc. has already seen its shares more than double since going public in December. A case of mistaken identity with a U.S. soundalike briefly boosted it further in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Shares in the provider of digital marketing data briefly jumped as much as 10% in early trading, seemingly over confusion with an unrelated San Francisco-based financial-technology firm with the same name.

The U.S. company, also known as Plaid Inc., had been a target for Visa Inc., which announced Wednesday it was walking away from a proposed $5.3 billion acquisition. At least one media report in Japanese mistakenly identified Visa’s target as the company listed in Japan’s startup board, raising the ire of some traders on social media.

“Wrong Plaid,” said one typical post.

Plaid has a market value of around $1.2 billion. It has itself attracted significant attention from investors since before its public debut, with funding from Alphabet Inc., which holds about 3.9% stake, as well as money manager Capital Group, which holds 5.6%.

Cases of mistaken identity abound as trading becomes increasingly accessible to retail investors. Most recently, Elon Musk’s post to “Use Signal,” apparently referring to the encrypted messaging service, led to a surge in shares of Signal Advance Inc., a tiny medical device company.