Chinese search engine firm Baidu Inc rejected as fake a press release issued on Monday that said it was to buy U.S. social gaming company Zynga Inc.
Zynga shares jumped 4 percent in heavy premarket trading after the press release, on website www.prurgent.com, said Baidu would offer $10 per share for the company.
Zynga shares eased back to $3.24, up 1.5 percent, in morning trade on the Nasdaq.
Baidu's director of international communications, Kaiser Kuo, said the statement was false. Zynga was not available for comment.
The statement appeared to have been removed from the PR*Urgent website by mid-morning.
Zynga shares peaked at $15.91 early last year on the strength of its "Farmville" hit game, but struggled after its games lost their prominence on the Facebook social networking site.
Zynga is scheduled to report first-quarter results on Wednesday and Baidu on Thursday.
(Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh in Bangalore; Editing by Rodney Joyce)