Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Google Sources Say Company Didn’t Buy ICOA Wireless

Sources at Google are denying reports that the search giant has acquired ICOA Wireless in a $400 million deal.

We have yet to hear from a Google rep on the record. But people within the company say that, contrary to a press release posted on PRWeb, Google has not bought ICOA, a Rhode Island-based player in public Wi-Fi networks. Shares of ICOA, which are traded on the OTC “pink sheets,” are up sharply this morning. There’s also been a surge in trading volume on the shares.

We’ve reached out to executives at ICOA for comment as well, and have not heard back.

Update 8:45 am PT: I just received an email from ICOA CFO Erwin Vahlsing: His statement: “It is false.”

Update: Techcrunch, which initially fell for the press release, is now reporting that the CEO of ICOA is denying the report as well.

The original source of the story appears to be a two-paragraph press release circulated on PRWeb. There was never any kind of statement whatsoever from Google, which in a situation like this is odd. In the case of an acquisition by a large publicly held company like Google, there’s usually a joint statement that includes contact information for people on both sides of the transaction, quotations from executives at both companies, and so on. Nothing of the sort appeared here, and numerous outlets apparently reported it without so much as bothering to check with either company.

It bears all the markings of an attempt at a pump-and-dump action on a penny stock. I’m no expert in these things, but it sure looks to me like someone might have sought to use the opportunity of a slow news day after the holiday, with a lot of attention diverted to matters related to Cyber Monday and shopping, to try and cause an artificial spike in the price of a thinly traded stock.

ICOA Inc. Acquired by Google for $400 Million
ICOA, Inc. is a national provider of wireless and wired broadband Internet networks in high-traffic public locations.

Warwick, RI (PRWEB) November 26, 2012

Google has announced its acquisition of ICOA Inc. A provider of Wi-Fi to high traffic public locations. ICOA is a leading vertically integrated, neutral-host broadband wireless Internet network provider. Their suite of services and solutions power the unique requirements of high-traffic public locations such as airports, marinas, restaurants and more, while also providing back office solutions for hotspot operators and wireless service providers. Google looks to further diversify it’s already impressive portfolio of companies.
ICOA, Inc. is a national provider of wireless and wired broadband Internet networks in high-traffic public locations. ICOA provides design, installation, operation, maintenance and management of WI-FI hot-spot and hot-zone Internet access. Based in Warwick, Rhode Island, ICOA owns or operates broadband access installations in high-traffic locations across 40 states, located in airports, quick-service restaurants, hotels and motels, travel plazas, marinas etc. ICOA networks are compatible with widely-used 802.11x technology and with virtually all Internet service providers. Further information is at

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