Earlier this morning press releases were distributed promoting the false information that Korean technology and mobile giant Samsung had purchased Fingerprint Cards AB (FPC) for $65 million are being called bogus by both parties. Though said errant documents stayed available online for some time after the corrections started to distribute, all copies of the initial press releases seem to have been removed from the Internet as of this writing.
After the press release, titled “Samsung Electronics to acquire Fingerprint Cards AB,” was distributed early this morning by Cision (a news distribution service) stock took an easy to predict bump: Fingerprint Cards stock shot up 51 percent. Almost immediately after, however the press release was recalled by Cision, trading in share was suspended for FPC and it’s algorithm providing partner Precise Biometrics (which experienced a 43 percent rise in stock).
At this point something resembling damage control began to wash over the Internet, with follow up press releases being issued by Samsung, Fingerprint Cards and Cision. The two denying parties did all that they could to distance themselves from the errant release, with a Samsung spokesperson telling a TechCrunch reporter, “It’s not true, it’s a groundless rumor.”
FPC’s follow up press release is curt, only four lines amounting to the company calling the press release incorrect and not sent by Fingerprint Cards, informing of the suspension of trade and the declaration that they will be pursuing legal action via the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority. Cision’s followup still cites the information as coming from Fingerprint Cards, while apologizing to affected stakeholders.
Attempts by the media to contact the involved parties have been blocked, though Business Insider has quoted Cision director of customer operations Helén Rigamonti as saying that Cision had originally received the release from an FPC contact person.
SO, what exactly is going on here? It certainly appears that the release was simply premature, but confirmation will not be coming for some time. Last week, FIDO president Michael Barrett mentioned that in six months Android devices will be available with native fingerprint sensors, and with the way that the mobile biometrics market is heading after the Touch ID release, it’s only a matter of time before a Samsung Galaxy device does have a sensor.
Add in to this the fact that FPC is taking an extremely aggressive stance in the Asian smartphone market, already having launched its sensors on multiple mobile devices, along with the earlier reported news that a prominent Asian smartphone company will be using FPC sensors in a device to launch in the US before the end of Q1 2014, and what you have is a lot of support for the cover-up conspiracy theorists that will surely arise from this morning’s PR bungle.