A bombshell appeared on the Dow Jones financial newswire on Tuesday: “Google to buy Apple for $9bn”.
But the story, that the acquisition had been suggested in the will of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, was bogus.
It was removed after two minutes, though Apple’s shares did briefly rise in value.
Dow Jones said the news appeared as the result of a “technical error” and should be ignored.
The unintentionally published fake news described the acquisition as “a surprise move to everyone who is alive” and quoted Google employees as saying “Yay”.
It also stated that Google would move into “Apple’s fancy headquarters”.
A statement from the firm, which is owned by News Corp, said the headlines were published between 09:34 and 09:36 New York time following a technical error.
“All of those headlines are being removed from the wires.
“We apologise for the error.”
The incident occurred during a technology test, according to a statement from Dow Jones chief executive William Lewis.