April Fools: Beware of Jokes

April 1, 2016, 12:00 PM UTC
The logo for US technology company and search engine Google is displayed on screens in London on February 11, 2016. Britain's tax agency announced last month that Google would pay a £130 million (166 million euro, $187 million) tax settlement for 10 years' operations in Britain where it makes 11 percent of its global sales. Finance minister George Osborne hailed the agreement as a victory. But there was a barrage of criticism, including from within Prime Minister David Cameron's own Conservative Party as the announcement coincided with a key tax filing deadline for many Britons. / AFP / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Leon Neal—AFP via Getty Images

Good morning. It’s April Fools Day, which makes it a good time to sort out what’s real out there, and what’s just, well, a joke. In the fooled-you department:

Anbang’s 14 billion bid for Starwood Hotels (HOT) was withdrawn. It’s unclear why, but Marriott (MAR) can now pick up the marbles.

Theranos’ proprietary blood testing machines generated an unacceptably high rate of errors, according to test results reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The once high-flying company now appears close to a crash.

Pfizer (PFE), and at least one major newspaper, got fooled by a fake press release claiming the company would no longer increase the prices of its drugs. It had to deny the report.

Unicorns should stop fooling investors with exaggerated valuations, SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a speech yesterday at Stanford University. That much is obviously not a joke. But it’s not clear what she can or will do about it.

And Google’s (GOOG) April Fools prank – a button that allowed you to attach a gif of a cartoon Minion dropping a mic to your gmail– backfired, as some claimed they mistakenly attached it to serious emails, with unfortunate consequences. It has been withdrawn.

Keep your guard up today.

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