In a press release earlier today, Samsung was said to have purchased a Swedish biometrics company focused on fingerprint scanning. Believable, considering Apple’s push toward fingerprint scanning, stocks of the Swedish company surged after the announcement. The only problem is… it never happened.
For around 17 minutes after the announcement, trading involving Fingerprint Cards — the company in question — was booming. Samsung and Fingerprint Cards denied any such deal had occurred, and NASDAQ reacted. Halting all trades, including one for $24.6 million, NASDAQ decided to look into the matter further.
In doing so, NASDAQ noticed a chief competitor to Fingerprint Cards, Precise Biometrics, also saw a surge in their stock price. Their stock rose 44% on the day, causing NASDAQ to halt and cease their trading as well.
Cision, the company responsible for a press release announcing the fake acquisition, says it was part of a “sophisticated fraud”, and that they’re not quite sure who published it yet. This has also raised the ire of the Swedish Economic Crime Authority, saying “We see this incident very seriously and investigation of a serious scam has begun.”
Fingerprint Cards CEO Johan Carlstrom said Cision is ultimately responsible for the blunder.
“There are only two people authorized to send press releases and that is the CEO and financial officer. In those cases they are sent from our e-mail addresses, and this one was not.” he said.
Cision was adamant their people followed internal guidelines, but were also making immediate changes to some policies to prevent future occurrences.