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Rogue 'Google buys ICOA' press release denied, retracted

updated 01:31 pm EST, Mon November 26, 2012

Press release possibly part of pump-and-dump stunt

An announcement that Google acquired ICOA Wireless for $400 million has been denied by both companies, shortly after trading volumes increased in both companies. A press release claimed to be published by ICOA has been circulated by PR Web before being retracted, and has forced the public Wi-Fi hotspot provider to openly deny the acquisition.

In a statement made to All Things D, ICOA chief financial officer Erwin Vahlsing stated "It is false." CEO George Strouthopoulos said "Never had any discussions with any potential acquirers!! This is absolutely false!" in an email to TechCrunch, after a number of outlets were sucked into the press release. Google has also confirmed the news not to be true.

Strouthopoulos suggested a possible source of the press release as "a stock promoter with a dubious interest." Promoting a stock that does not see much in the way of trading action on a day that is considered to have less news than usual due to sales and Thanksgiving would artificially raise the value of the stock, albeit temporarily, and would earn those that knew about it ahead of time a decent sum all for the cost of a well-timed and cheap to circulate press release.

by MacNN Staff



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