Google acquires Wi-Fi provider ICOA for $400M (Updated)

Update 1: Hmm. Despite a press release on PR Web this morning, AllThingsD just reported that Google did not buy ICOA Wireless:

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 PR Web, 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.

PR Web also took down the press release. The old link now redirects to the website’s Recent News page.

Update 2: The Wall Street Journal just contacted two ICOA executives who then commented on the matter:

Erwin Vahlsing, Jr., ICOA’s chief financial officer, said in an email that an online press release claiming Google had acquired ICOA for $400 million “is false.”

In a separate email, George Strouthopoulos, ICOA’s chief executive, said the company “never had any discussions with any potential acquirers.” He said ICOA will report the incident “to the proper authorities.”

Google just announced that it bought Wi-Fi provider ICOA for $400 million, while noting the buyout continues to diversify its “portfolio of companies,” according to a press release from PR Web.

In regards to ICOA, Google called it “a provider of Wi-Fi to high traffic public locations,” and it further said, “ICOA is a leading vertically integrated, neutral-host broadband wireless Internet network provider.”

ICOA essentially powers high-traffic places like airports and restaurants, and its network supports 802.11x technology and plays nice with most Internet service providers. Oh, the Wi-Fi provider is also a partner with Boingo. Interestingly, Google worked with Boingo earlier this year to provide the same hotspot solution to other high-traffic locations across America.

Google’s venture into the wireless space is further interesting when you take into account its Google Fiber Project in Kansas and recent rumors that it’s partnering with Dish Network to launch a wireless service.

We contacted Google for a comment and will update when more information is available.

Check out the full press release below.

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