With an estimated market value of around $835 billion, Apple is one of the largest companies in the world. When the Dow Jones newswire published an unbelievable story claiming rival Google was about to buy the iPhone maker for a paltry $9 billion, everyone knew it wasn’t real – but the news still sent Apple’s shares up temporarily.
The story claimed former CEOs Larry Page and Steve Jobs started talking about an acquisition back in 2010, and that the deal was outlined in Jobs’ will. The takeover was supposed to close today and would give Google nine shares of Apple stock for every Google share.
“In a surprise move to anyone who is alive, Google said it’s going to buy Apple for $9 billion,” read the report. “Google Chief Executive Larry Page had secret talks with the now-deceased Steve Jobs in 2010 to firm up the deal.” Larry Page, of course, hasn't been Google CEO since Alphabet's creation in 2015.
Luckily for Google’s staff, the report added that they would be moving into Apple’s “fancy” headquarters. One of the workers was so happy about the news, they were quoted as saying “Yay.”
This was, of course, all an error on the part of Dow Jones. “The items, which were never intended for publication, were accidentally published as part of a technology test,” a spokesperson explained in a statement. Companies often write fake stories to test internal systems, but it seems someone accidentally hit a wrong button in this instance.
While the item is clearly fake and led to speculation that the Dow Jones had been hacked, automatic trading algorithms couldn't identify it as false and boosted Apple’s shares up $2 to $158 per share.
William Lewis, CEO of Dow Jones and Publisher of The Wall Street Journal put out the following statement: “I take today’s inadvertent and erroneous publication of testing materials extremely seriously. While immediate corrective action has been taken, I have also ordered a review of news and technology processes in this area.”