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It's fake: Google didn't buy hotspot provider for $400 million

A fake press release leads to millions of shares in a less-than-a-penny stock being traded. Simply put, Google didn't buy ICOA.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

We've been had. And so have a few others. But for a day a penny stock called ICOA had quite a run courtesy of a fake press release indicating Google bought the company for $400 million.

A fake press release distributed on PRWeb indicated that Google would expand its Wi-Fi and wired footprint via the acquisition of ICOA for $400 million. ICOA provides Wi-Fi hotspots in the U.S.

At midday, more than 3 billion shares (pink sheets) traded over the counter for ICOA.

The catch: The acquisition is a sham. CNET News pinged ICOA's leadership, who indicated that the acquisition is fake. We have emails out. 



Given Google's flirtations with being an ISP, the news didn't look all that surprising. In retrospect, the price tag is ridiculous. Here's the fake release and a screen grab for posterity. 



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