Oops! Google Actually Didn’t Buy this Company

Sounds like a pretty good deal for Google – another acquisition, this time of wireless broadband provider ICOA. Maybe Google can pair it with their new Google Fiber service, and become a real threat in the Internet service provider arena.

Except not, because it didn’t happen.

A lot of outlets thought it did happen, though, and it’s hard to blame them – the usually reliable PRWeb.com, repository of droves of press releases from businesses the whole world over, published one that reported that Google had purchased ICOA for $400 million. That prompted a reply from ICOA head George Strouthopoulos, saying that not only was the report false, but that no discussions had taken place over the sale of the company to anyone. Granted, that last part he might have said regardless of whether or not talks actually took place, but in this case, it sounds mostly like a bunk story.

PRWeb.com blamed the post on a case of identity theft that it says happens occasionally in the world of press releases. On its face, it’s hard to discern how, exactly, posting false press releases that will obviously be debunked within a day helps an identity thief in any way.

Then again, we do have a clue. ICOA is sold publicly on Pink OTC, a market reserved for stocks called “penny stocks” – stocks with shares that trade for around or under a penny. ICOA, whose stock is usually (literally) worthless rose to a whopping $0.0004 before tumbling down to $0.0001 after the story was revealed as a fake. Anyone trying to find the culprit behind the fake press release will probably want to take a nice, long look at those ICOA stock trades, and the people who executed them, this week.

Via The Wall Street Journal

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