A PR kerfuffle has sent one Swedish company to scramble to call the authorities and issue a retraction regarding news that it had been acquired by Samsung.
BusinessWire released a press release this morning that stated Sweden’s Fingerprint Cards was acquired by Samsung for $650 million in cash. The article was reported at The Verge, among other places, which all largely hinted at the notion that the scanning technology would be likely used in later generation cellphones to perhaps compete with the iPhone.
It’s all well and good, except it’s not true.
According to a report by Reuters, Fingerprint Cards CEO Johan Carlstrom said that the company has not been in discussion with Samsung over acquisition and the press release was totally false. Carlstrom claims that the press release was the result of failed orchestration by PR News company Cision, and not written by anyone at the company. For its part in the snafu, Cision has apologized (without giving any reasonable explanation of how the error occurred), but that will not stop the company from escalating the issues.
“What has happened will be reported to the police and to the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority,” Fingerprint said.
This isn’t the first time that false tech-related press releases have been convincingly distributed to the daily news churn online. Last November, Vocus came under fire when its PRWeb platform ran press release that stated Wi-Fi provider ICOA had entered an acquisition deal with Google for $400 million. Many news outlets reported on the deal (including our own), but denials from both parties came rushing forth. Some have suggested the press release was meant to falsely inflate ICOA’s stock prices, although nothing has been confirmed.
While no motive for distributing the Fingerprint Cards story has become clear, the Swedish stock exchange suspended trading of the company’s shares after the incident.