Fake Samsung Takeover Press Release Adds £127m To Swedish Firm’s Value

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Investors fall victim to a hoax document that suggested Samsung was going to buy Swedish biometrics firm

A fake press release that suggested Samsung was acquiring Swedish company FingerPrint cards, caused shares in the biometrics specialist to increase by half before the hoax was exposed and trading suspended.

The document claimed the Korean manufacturer was going to buy the firm for $650 million (£406m), with fabricated quotes from Samsung co-CEO Kwon Oh-hyun and FingerPrint CEO Johan Carlstrom inspiring confidence in investors.

The sudden interest in the company added $203 million (£127m) to the firm’s value, while shares in local competitor Price Biometrics also increased. Both firms have received a fair amount of publicity since the launch of the iPhone 5S last month, which features a Touch ID fingerprint sensor that allows users to unlock their phones.

Samsung hoax

network scan machine fingerprint privacy security © Bruce Rolff ShutterstockThe release was sent out at 09:17 on Friday morning, but was retracted within half an hour by FingerPrint and Cision AB, a press release distribution specialist, while Samsung also confirmed it wasn’t accurate.

The Stockholm Stock Exchange suspended trading shortly after and said any trades conducted during the incident would be cancelled. Trading has now resumed and the matter has been referred to the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority.

Cision has apparently conducted a preliminary investigation and claims it followed its own procedures but had been subject to an elaborate fraud and has reported the matter to the Swedish police.

Earlier this year, The Pirate Bay fooled a number of Internet users by claiming it had been offered “virtual asylum” in North Korea by its leader Kim Jong-un. The peer-to-peer sharing site said the hoax was simply intended to make fun of gullible readers who would think it would partner “with the most hated dictatorship in the world”.

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