Samsung Calls $650M Fingerprint Cards Acquisition Report “False” [Updated]

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A press release announcing that Samsung had acquired a Swedish fingerprint biometrics company was distributed on Business Wire and elsewhere earlier this morning. Samsung has since confirmed that the release was false and that it is not acquiring Fingerprint Cards. Fingerprint Cards has also since issued a denial of the report.   

Despite the acquisition having been denied by both companies, at the time of writing Business Wire is still carrying the bogus release.  

Update 5: Multiple attempts to contact Cision by telephone to ascertain how the false press release was distributed have not been successful — the number for its Swedish customer operative, Helén Rigamonti, is ringing out. However Business Insider managed to speak to her earlier, and was told it is investigating what happened.

“We are looking into our procedures, but we followed all of our security procedures and we can’t exactly tell you what happened as of now,” Rigamonti is quoted as saying.

She also told Business Insider that a “contact person” at Fingerprint Cards had sent the release to Cision.

Update 4: Multiple attempts to get through to Fingerprint Cards’ CEO via telephone have been blocked by a Fingerprint Cards’ employee who answered the phone but refused point-blank to discuss the acquisition report. On asking to speak to anyone else in the company she claimed “everyone is in a meeting”, and on asking specifically to speak to (CEO) Carlstrom she said “he’s busy all day, back on Monday”.

Update 3: Fingerprints Cards has now issued a statement, posted on its website, denying it has been acquired:

The news in today’s media that Fingerprint Cards AB has been acquired by Samsung is incorrect.
The previous press release was not sent by Fingerprint Cards AB
Trading in the share has been suspended.
What has happened will be reported to the police and to the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority.

Fingerprint Cards is a publicly traded company, so whoever distributed the false release was presumably hoping to benefit from a spike in the share price on talk of a bogus multi-million dollar acquisition.

Update 2: Samsung has now confirmed the acquisition report is false. “It’s not true, it’s a groundless rumour,” a company spokeswoman told TechCrunch, after initially describing it as a “market rumour” and declining to comment further. The spokeswoman said the company did not know how the release was distributed, adding “it did not come from us”.

At the time of writing, attempts to contact Fingerprint Cards by telephone have been unsuccessful, but according to Reuters the company has denied the acquisition. “A false press release has gone out,” Fingerprint Cards CEO Johan Carlstrom told the news agency, adding that the company has not had any discussions with Samsung.

Update 1: After the press release announcing this acquisition went out Cision recalled it, saying it had been released in error. We’ve spoken to Samsung and are awaiting their confirmation. This is a developing story so please check for more updates.

Original report below.

Apple’s iPhone 5s has a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button. HTC is rumoured to be sticking a fingerprint sensor on the rear of the forthcoming HTC One Max. And now Samsung is next in line to add biometrics to its mobile hardware: the company has today announced it’s acquiring Swedish biometrics company Fingerprint Cards AB — which makes a range of fingerprint sensor modules — for $650 million in cash.

Samsung said today that the acquisition will “increase the accessibility of swipe sensor technology”. The Korean mobile maker made no mention of Apple’s new flagship fingerprint sensor feature — Touch ID — but that’s the clear driver here.

At the launch of its new iPhone last month, the iPhone 5s, Apple replaced its flagship smartphone’s home button with a fingerprint sensor that allows users to unlock their phone with their fingerprint, and verify purchases on iTunes without having to input a password. As well as offering users the convenience of not having to keep inputting a passcode/password, Touch ID differentiates Apple’s flagship hardware from rivals — at least for the moment. It’s now a race for Samsung to launch Galaxy-branded devices with a own fingerprint sensor to neutralise Apple’s first mover advantage here.

“Swipe sensor technology is phenomenal in every way and are going to be loved by millions of people around the world,” said Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun in a statement announcing the acquisition. “Together we will create the future.”

The acquisition tallies with earlier rumours that Samsung is planning to add a fingerprint sensor to the next generation of its Galaxy Note phablet.

The acquisition has been approved by both boards, and Fingerprint Cards will become a new business division within Samsung, the pair said today. Fingerprint Cards CEO Johan Carlström joins Samsung, becoming president of the Samsung Fingerprint Cards Division, and reporting directly to Kwon Oh-hyun.

Developing story. More to come. Full release follows below…

Fingerprint Cards AB and Samsung Electronics today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Samsung will acquire Fingerprint Cards, the leading fingerprint verification company, for $650 million in cash. The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of both Fingerprint Cards and Samsung. The acquisition will increase the accessibility of swipe sensor technology. The combination will extend Fingerprint Cards world class technology.

Swipe sensor technology is phenomenal in every way and are going to be loved by millions of people around the world,” said Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun. “Together we will create the future.

Fingerprint Cards will become a new business division within Samsung, and Fingerprint Cards CEO Johan Carlström will assume the title of president of the Samsung Fingerprint Cards Division, reporting directly to Kwon Oh-hyun.

Fingerprints Cards and Samsung share the vision of bringing products to our customers,” said Johan Carlström. “Together, we will be able to accelerate Samsung’s plans,” Johan Carlström said.

About Fingerprint Cards AB (publ)

Fingerprint Cards AB (FPC) markets, develops and produces biometric components and technologies that through the analysis and matching of an individual’s unique fingerprint verify the person’s identity. The technology consists of biometric sensors, processors, algorithms and modules that can be used separately or in combination with each other. The competitive advantages offered by the FPC’s technology include unique image quality, extreme robustness, low power consumption and complete biometric systems. With these advantages and the ability to achieve extremely low manufacturing costs, the technology can be implemented in volume products such as smart cards and mobile phones, where extremely rigorous demands are placed on such characteristics. The company’s technology can also be used in IT and Internet security, access control, etc.

Fingerprint Cards AB (publ) discloses this information pursuant to the Swedish Securities Market Act (2007:528) and the Swedish Financial Instruments Trading Act (1991:980). The information was issued for publication on October 11, 2013 at 10.00 CET.

Important information Issuance, publication or distribution of this press release in certain jurisdictions could be subject to restrictions. The recipient of this press release is responsible for using this press release and the constituent information in accordance with the rules and regulations prevailing in the particular jurisdiction. This press release does not constitute an offer or an offering to acquire or subscribe for any of the company’s securities in any jurisdiction.

Important information Issuance, publication or distribution of this press release in certain jurisdictions could be subject to restrictions. The recipient of this press release is responsible for using this press release and the constituent information in accordance with the rules and regulations prevailing in the particular jurisdiction. This press release does not constitute an offer or an offering to acquire or subscribe for any of the company’s securities in any jurisdiction.

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